The priests of the Diocese of Allentown are “a choir of many voices,” Bishop Alfred Schlert said at the Chrism Mass, each with unique gifts, yet each singing in harmony for the good of the Diocese and for the good of the Catholic Church.
The Chrism Mass typically is the largest gathering of priests during the year, a time when they recommit themselves to the promises they made on their Ordination Day.
Too often in the world today, Bishop Schlert said during his homily, there is the opposite of harmony, including efforts at so-called “reform” of the Church.
“The Church will never reform itself by jettisoning long-settled and divinely revealed teachings,” the Bishop said. “These teachings must be enthusiastically embraced,” he told the priests, deacons, seminarians, consecrated religious men and women, and lay people gathered for the Mass, “using our harmony to preach the Truth.”
Bishop Schlert asked priests of the Diocese to be welcoming of all people, and to be pastoral to all, but noted that a priest’s accompaniment must lead all people to the Truth, even if it may be difficult for them to hear.
It was the first fully-attended Chrism Mass since 2019, before pandemic restrictions.
The Bishop recognized priest jubilarians who are celebrating milestone anniversaries of their Priesthood, including Bishop Edward Cullen, Third Bishop of Allentown, who is celebrating his 60th anniversary as a priest.
The Bishop also remembered priests and deacons who have passed away during the past year.
He thanked priests for their work during the Year of the Real Presence, and for their help enabling the faithful to express their opinions during the Synod of Bishops.
He also thanked those pastors who are moving their parish’s Tabernacle back to the center of the church. “That is the right place for the Tabernacle,” he said, “at the center of the church, at the center of our family of faith, at the center of our Diocese, and at the center of our Catholic faith.”
The Chrism Mass takes its name from the Sacred Chrism, one of the three oils used by priests throughout the year.
At the Mass, Bishop Schlert blessed the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick. He also consecrated the Sacred Chrism for use in parishes during the upcoming year, breathing on it in a gesture that recalls Jesus breathing on His disciples after the resurrection.
When priests receive the newly blessed oils this year, they will bury or burn any leftover Oil from last year.
The use of oil traces its roots to the Bible. Olive oil was prevalent in Jerusalem and had many practical uses: food, heating, light, and healing wounds.
Four sacraments use blessed oils: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick.
A recording of the Chrism Mass is available for viewing here.