The chrism Mass for the Diocese of St. Cloud was celebrated April 11 at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Blizzard conditions throughout the diocese prevented many people from attending. The following is Bishop Donald Kettler’s homily from the Mass which he wants to share for the benefit of those who were unable to attend:
I recently came across a statement and an event from an early saint, St. Aidan. He entrusted a bottle of oil to a young priest, who was to escort a maiden to King Oswin for his wedding. The priest was told, in case of troubled waters, the oil was to be used for calm. A storm did arise on the journey, but Aidan’s oil reduced the trauma.
The boat of the Church today has also encountered a storm. In fact, the boat may have developed some holes and leaks. Tonight’s celebration of the chrism Mass might help us to reduce the trauma, repair the damage and help us reach our port safely.
The three oils blessed tonight — the oil of the sick, the oil of the catechumenate and the sacred chrism will be used by all of our parishes for healing and anointing, used in many of our sacraments, and used for the blessing of sacred places, churches and people. The oil brings closer the presence of God and extends and radiates the sacraments.
I pray that my blessing and use of these oils will bring healing and greater accountability to me and all the bishops as we respond to the sexual abuse and other kinds of abuse present in the Church and in our society today. Each time I pour this oil or use my hands to anoint someone or something, may it bring healing and better leadership and accountability to me, to what is touched, and to all our Church ministers.
May these oils be an efficacious sign of faith, gratitude and justice for everyone in the Church. May it call me and others to reach out in reconciliation to the edges of our communities and Church — the stranger, the newcomer, the non-believer, the drifting Catholic, the poor and hungry, and the abused.
My brother priests and deacons, tonight’s recommitment to our priesthood and diaconate is an important moment for renewing our ministries for the repentance, caring and healing of all those hurt by the Church’s bishops’ and priests’ failures, while also remembering that many important efforts have been and are currently responding to the present leaks in the boat of the Church.
As you, our lay people, renew your own ministries, your baptismal calling, your sharing in the priestly, prophetic and kingly ministry of Christ, and your membership in the diocesan Church by being a heart of mercy, a voice of hope, and the hands of justice, please keep praying for our Church, the Body of Christ, and keep stepping forward during a time in the Church when your guidance and leadership are particularly needed and important.
May tonight’s chrism Mass be a time for healing, reconciliation, joy and peace.