Archbishop blesses oils, consecrates chrism

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By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

The oils used throughout the year in sacraments and other blessings were blessed and the sacred chrism was consecrated at the annual Chrism Mass March 31 at the Cathedral of the Assumption.

At the evening celebration, the presbyterate of the Archdiocese of Louisville also renewed their priestly promises. Members of the diaconate, those preparing to enter the church at the Easter Vigil and their sponsors and members of the Catholic faithful were also in attendance for the annual Holy Week liturgy.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz presided at the Mass and in his homily spoke about “our encounter together with Jesus Christ.”

He noted that when Pope Francis was still known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, he issued a pastoral letter in October 2012 on the Year of Faith.

In the letter, Archbishop Kurtz said, the then-cardinal wrote, “ ‘Among the most striking experiences of the last decades is finding doors closed. Little by little increasing insecurity has made us bolt doors, employ means of vigilance, install security cameras and mistrust strangers who call at our door.’ ”

The archbishop also referred to the pope’s apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium.” The first sentence states: “The joy of the gospel fills the lives and the hearts of those who encounter Christ.”

The archbishop noted, “It is Christ who is the glue that brings us together. And it is the grace of Christ that makes us — on Easter day — cry ‘Alleluia,’ not waiting till all problems of our lives are solved.”

The archbishop urged his listeners to “open your heart to Christ.”

Archbishop Kurtz also noted that the word anoint means called to the lord. In the Gospel reading from Luke, Jesus went to the synagogue and read a passage from the prophet Isaiah that said “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me.”

“And then he talked about the need to reach out and serve others. We have a world that needs each of you to serve, and me too,” the archbishop said. “You are preparing tonight for that special gift come Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday when
you renew your baptismal promises and you are alive with Jesus Christ.”

He also addressed his brother priests and thanked them for their service to the church and to the people of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

“Your people love you and I love you and the church desperately needs you,” he said.

Following the homily, people carried the sacred chrism and other oils down the center aisle of the cathedral and
presented them to the archbishop.

The oil of the sick is used in the celebration of the sacrament of anointing. Representatives of those who serve the sick — Elaine Hulsman, Judith Martin and Rodney Laswell — presented this oil.

The oil of the catechumens is used to anoint those preparing for baptism. It was presented by representatives from the catechumenate ministry, including: George Kaissieh, Glory Kramer and Kathy Shannon.

The sacred chrism — used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and holy orders — was presented to the archbishop by those preparing for the sacraments of initiation and holy orders, including Deacon Peter Bucalo, Andrew Johnson and Dennis Gabriel. The chrism, a mixture of olive oil and balsam, is also used in the rite of dedication of a church and an altar.

To hear more comments about the annual Chrism Mass from Archbishop Kurtz, watch segment three of the March episode of “Conversations with Archbishop Kurtz” below.

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