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Bishop Burbidge celebrates Chrism Mass at the cathedral

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At some point in our lives we will or have already encountered the graces of these holy oils — catechumens, infirm and sacred chrism. 

Laity, priests, deacons and seminarians from across the diocese gathered to witness the oils blessed as Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington April 18.

 

In his homily, Bishop Burbidge called to mind the words of the day’s responsorial psalm: “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.” 

“Yet some may ask how is that possible in light of the challenging times we have faced in our church and continue to face at this very moment,” he said. “As a diocese, we can readily point to many instances we have that enable us to sing of the goodness of the Lord. We are about to welcome hundreds of individuals who will be fully initiated into our Catholic Church at Easter. We were so inspired to see countless numbers of people celebrate God’s mercy in the sacrament of penance throughout Lent. We are uplifted by the example of our young people.” 

Bishop Burbidge said within the Chrism Mass, the church does not ask the Bishop to renew his promises of ordination. “But in light of the fact that in recent months the trust of the bishops have somewhat been eroded I want to make my promises known and be held accountable for them,” he said. “I promise to be a more perfect image of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, the teacher and servant of all. I promise to encourage and stand by my brother priests in every way possible, to love them and our seminarians as a spiritual father. I will continue to the best of my ability to teach the truth and the joy of the Gospel with fidelity and constancy. I will continue to work daily for the protection of children and the vulnerable, and with the appropriate transparency and necessary collaboration, that work will always be a priority. I will also continue in every way possible to support victims and survivors and be with them in their time of need. … Dear friends in Christ, I am proud to be your bishop and with God’s help I will do everything possible to make you proud of our diocese.” 

Following the homily, Bishop Burbidge addressed the priests, inviting them to renew their ordination promises. “Beloved sons, on the anniversary of that day when Christ Our Lord conferred his priesthood on his apostles and on us, are you resolved to renew, in the presence of your Bishop and God’s holy people, the promises you once made?” asked Bishop Burbidge. The priests replied, “I am.”

“Renewing our priestly commitment and to do it on the day of the institution of the priesthood is a great blessing,” said Father Paul D. Scalia, episcopal vicar for clergy and director of the permanent diaconate. “We all made our solemn promises on our ordination but to do it today, on really the feast day of the priesthood, is a special significance.” 

The blessing of the oils and consecration of the chrism followed the renewal of promises. Seminarians assisted with transferring oil into small containers for diocesan churches following Mass. 

Steve Seger, a parishioner of Holy Spirit Church in Annandale, attended the Mass with his family. 

“We like to come to the Chrism Mass especially because we have a lot of children and often we have someone who is going to be anointed with those oils during the year,” he said. 

To see more photos from the Chrism Mass go to catholicherald.smugmug.com.

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© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019

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