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Chrism Mass Serves As Call Ongoing Call To Missionary Discipleship

Bishop Siegel blesses the Sacred Chrism. The Message photo by Tim Lilley

During the March 27 Diocese of Evansville Chrism Mass, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel reminded those who filled St. Benedict Cathedral almost to capacity of their ongoing call to missionary discipleship.

“I hope everyone in this Cathedral is firmly convinced that all of us … priests and deacons, laity and religious, need to work together for the sake of mission; namely, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and to lead all people to the path of salvation,” Bishop Siegel said.

“We must go out of ourselves to bring the fragrant oil of the Gospel to all, bringing people light in moments of darkness and hope in the midst of despair.”

After his homily, and before blessing the holy oils, Bishop-Emeritus Gerald A. Gettelfinger and priests of the Diocese of Evansville joined Bishop Siegel in renewing their priestly vows.

“My brothers, this night the Church calls us to be renewed in our mission,” the bishop said during his homily. “Like Jesus, we are anointed by the Holy Spirit and sent to proclaim the joy of the Gospel. By Holy Orders – in the laying on of hands, the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the anointing with Chrism – we share not in some abstract mission but in the very identity and mission of Jesus, ‘the faithful witness…who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his Blood….’

“This evening, we are invited to return to Jesus, the source of our priesthood. We are invited to reflect on the origins of our call to be a priest, to allow the Lord to call us again, to rediscover in Jesus the source and summit of our priesthood. With the help of God’s grace, we must renew our fervor in bringing people to the sacraments, being eager to baptize, to absolve, to unite couples in marriage, to console the sick and the dying, to bring the people the life of God’s grace. As we renew our priestly promises, let us prayerfully encounter the One who is our Shepherd, our Savior, our Great High Priest, our companion and friend.”

Following the renewal of priestly vows, Bishop Siegel blessed the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens and the Sacred Chrism. Each will be provided to all diocesan parishes for use throughout the next year.

“As I celebrate my first Chrism Mass with you, my heart is filled with joy and with gratitude to the Lord,” this bishop said. “Gratitude for calling me to be the Bishop of this local Church;  and gratitude for you – clergy, religious and lay faithful of the diocese – who in countless ways carry forward the Lord’s mission: to bring glad tidings … to set free … to heal … to console … to redeem.

“By God’s grace and through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, may it come to pass that this mission is fulfilled in us and through us. In all things, may Jesus Christ be praised both now and forever.”