Chrism Mass Homily 2017
On Tuesday April 11th the priests of the diocese, along with many of the faithful, gathered with Most Reverend Gerard Bergie to celebrate the Chrism Mass. This is when the priests renew their priestly promises. The sacred oils, the Oil of the Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick are blessed and Chrism is consecrated for use in administering the sacraments in the coming year.
In his homily Bishop Bergie said, “We gather this evening as the Church of St. Catharines to celebrate the Chrism Mass. Here we celebrate how Jesus is able to draw us more closely to himself through the sacramental life of the Church and the priesthood. The Chrism Mass draws our attention to these realities by the blessing of oil, consecration of chrism, and the renewal of priestly promises. Jesus wants us to know Him, love Him, and serve Him, so that, unlike the people of Nazareth, we will not reject Him. The sacramental life of the Church draws us closer to Jesus because in the sacraments we enter a profound relationship with Jesus. In the Orthodox Tradition, the sacraments are called The Seven Sacred Mysteries. With each celebration we are drawn into the mystery of God and a profound encounter with the sacred.”
“In a few moments I will be asking all of the Priests present to renew their priestly promises. The first question I will ask them is this: “Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more closely conformed to him, denying yourselves and confirming those promises about sacred duties toward Christ’s Church which, prompted by love of him, you willingly and joyfully pledged on the day of your priestly ordination?” In this statement we see that everything that a priest is called to be and do is rooted in his love for Christ and His Church. Like the sacraments, a priest helps to draw us into a more profound relationship with Christ. The priest is called to be an icon of Christ who helps to lift the veil surrounding the mystery of God. He cannot do this if he is not personally united to Christ in love and service. This unique relationship is not a burden because the commitment causes joy rather than sorrow. To joyfully follow the Lord is the call of all Christians.”
“I thank you for being present this evening and for all that you do to help make our diocese great, laity, consecrated men and woman, clergy and seminarians working together to ensure that our local Church is a sacramental sign of Christ. Together we offer hope to our community because in Christ’s name we bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to prisoners, give sight to the blind, offer freedom to the oppressed, and proclaim the Lord’s favor. As your bishop, I assure you that my familiarity with you . . . generates profound respect and love. May God bless you and the Diocese of St. Catharines!”