Chrism Mass

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April 3, 2023
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

For me, one of the highlights of the liturgical year is celebrating the Chrism Masses each year in South Bend and in Fort Wayne.  I find it always uplifting to have this beautiful concelebration of Mass with so many priests during this week when Our Lord instituted the priesthood, with the presence and participation of so many of our deacons, religious sisters and brothers, seminarians, and, of course, so many lay faithful who gather especially to pray for our priests as they renew their priestly promises.


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The Second Vatican Council said the following about the Chrism Mass: “The Chrism Mass, which the bishop concelebrates with his presbyterium, and at which the Holy Chrism is consecrated and the oils blessed, manifests the communion of the priests with their bishop in the same priesthood and ministry of Christ” (PO 7).  I decided to focus my homily this year on this theme of “communion,” not only the communion of the priests with their bishop, but also the communion of the whole Church with Christ and with one another in His Body, the Church.

As you know, there are four marks of the Church, four properties that are inseparable from the very nature of the Church and not found in any other institution: unity, sanctity, catholicity, and apostolicity.  In the Creed, we profess our belief in these four marks when we say: “I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.”  These four marks of the Church are all interconnected.  I will focus in this homily on the first mark of the Church: unity.

Unity is of the essence of the Church.  The Church is one.  The Second Vatican Council taught how this is so.  First, because of her source – the unity of the Blessed Trinity, one God who is three Divine Persons.  Second, because of her founder: Jesus, the Word made fl