Priests answer the call daily, bishop says at Chrism Mass

CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated the annual chrism Mass before
a packed congregation at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

Traditionally held on the Tuesday of Holy Week, it is the time when diocesan priests  renew their pledge to serve the people of God.

One lady put her hand over her heart and smiled as she watched over 120 priests process into the church.

Bishop Guglielmone noted the large turnout of priests and their parishioners, and thanked everyone for making the journey.

Chrism is consecrated oil used in Greek and Latin churches, so the annual event is also called the Mass of the Oils.

During the liturgy, the bishop consecrates all the sacred oils that will be used in sacraments during the coming year. They are the oil of catechumens, used in baptism; oil of the sick, to anoint the ill; and oil of sacred chrism, considered the chief anointing oil and used for sacraments of initiation, dedications and holy orders.

The bishop explained that the oils he consecrated during Mass are the oils used throughout the diocese. During his homily, Bishop Guglielmone spoke about his recent vacation and the time it gave him to reflect on Holy Week.

“I kept coming back to the same question,” he said. “Why?”

Why did Jesus receive a triumphant welcome into Jerusalem just to be crucified one week later? Why did he suffer such anguish all for us?

And more to the point of the day, why do priests come before God and His people each year to renew their vows?

Bishop Guglielmone said that everyone is called in some capacity. Some are called to be ordained priests, and given the mission and challenge to care for God’s sheep.

This is not an easy role to carry out, the bishop said, but priests answer the call every day despite their human weaknesses.

Referring to the Gospel of John, the bishop reflected on the connection between Jesus, Peter and our priests today.

When Peter affirmed three times that he did indeed love the Lord, Jesus told him to act upon that love by going forth into the world to care for His people. This is still the call of priests, and they do so in a multitude of ways.

As a sign of their gratitude, the congregation stood at the close of the chrism Mass and
applauded their modern day disciples.

A luncheon was held after the Mass and Bishop Guglielmone paid tribute to the clergy who have jubilees coming up this year.

Trappist Father Feliciano Manalili; Father Robert Vogt, retired; and Adorno Fathers  Nicholas Capetola and Frank Palmieri will all celebrate 50 years.

Also, celebrating 25 years are Fathers Maximino E. Tria Jr., John Bosco Duraisamy, Raymond J. Carlo, Michael F. McCafferty and
James M. Crowley.