WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
The annual Chrism Mass, held on the Monday of Holy Week in the Edmonton Archdiocese, includes both a celebration of the priesthood and the blessing of the holy oils.
WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Archbishop Richard Smith pours the Oil of Catechumens during the blessing of the oils.
Our mission as a Church is to live in the power of the Holy Spirit and bring to the suffering humanity the good news of the Lord's nearness, love and freedom.
That was the central message Archbishop Richard Smith delivered at the annual Chrism Mass before a packed St. Joseph's Basilica March 25.
At the Mass, the archbishop consecrated the oils to be used in sacramental celebrations and thanked the priests of the archdiocese for their good work.
"Fathers, I want to assure you that the people of this archdiocese love their priests. Know, as well, of my personal esteem and gratitude."
Priests in the archdiocese renewed their commitment to the Lord and to his Church later in the Mass.
In his homily, Smith said the new Holy Father, Pope Francis, has shown how to bring the good news of God's love to others.
It is well known that, the day after his election, the pope unexpectedly returned to the guesthouse where he had stayed prior to the conclave, so he could pick up his suitcases and pay his bill.
"What is perhaps less well known is that he used this as an occasion to greet and thank the staff that had cared for him," Smith related at the Mass.
The archbishop was staying at the same place and later spoke with the staff about the pope's visit. "Needless to say, they were elated. In a real sense this was the first papal visit, and it was to them."
Those staff are people whom the world rarely notices or thanks. "But the pope noticed them, recognized their inherent dignity and worth, and reached out to be with them and so honour them."
The pope's action shows that it does not take an heroic effort to announce God's love, Smith said. "It means, rather, seeking each day to notice the otherwise unnoticed, and to make some gesture that honours their dignity and value."
While this call comes to each of us as members of the Body of Christ, it is entrusted in a particular way to priests because of their ordination to shepherd the Church, the archbishop said.
As is customary at the Chrism Mass, the priests renewed the promises made at their ordination.
As well, Smith blessed the sacred oils that will be used in sacraments celebrated across the Edmonton Archdiocese during the next year.
Then he warmly greeted representatives from each parish in the archdiocese and passed on to them small vials of the Oil of Catechumens, Oil of the Sick and Oil of Chrism.