Mass of the Oils: Priests anointed to bear hope, says bishop

CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone held up Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis as symbols of hope; beacons to light the way for the faithful.
He said he has found inspiration in the writings of Pope Benedict’s “Spe Salvi”, which focuses on the year of faith and the ongoing story of salvation, bringing to all a message of hope.
“Our new Holy Father Francis, in his homily on that very day of being inaugurated into this office, offered us a new and refreshed insight into the virtue of hope,” as he spoke about hoping against hope, and believing, the bishop said.
“Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others,” Bishop Guglielmone said.
The bishop delivered his homily during the annual Chrism Mass, held at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on March 26.
Traditionally held on the Tuesday of Holy Week, it is the time when diocesan priests renew their pledge to serve the people of God.
The sight of over 120 priests processing into the Cathedral is always a moving experience, and many in the congregation smiled as they passed.
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 those used throughout the diocese.
During his homily, Bishop Guglielmone told the congregation to hold fast to the hope Jesus gives His people, and urged his brother priests to remember that they are “anointed to be bearers of hope to God’s people.”
The bishop drew parallels to the oils as symbols of hope, and called on the priests, just before the renewal of their vows, to never lose sight of their purpose.
“Our people must see in us the hope that Jesus offers and the joy that results from that hope,” the bishop said. “Again our Holy Father reminds us that we must never allow the owners of destruction and death to overcome us, nor should we ever shy away from goodness and joy.”
At a luncheon held after Mass, Bishop Guglielmone paid tribute to the clergy who have jubilees this year.
Father  Patrick J. Stenson, a Missionary of the Sacred Heart, and Father Peter Clarke will celebrate their golden jubilees. Father Bernardino S. Yebra will be honored for 25 years of service.