Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 12, 2004
Archdiocesan 'family' gathers
Oils blessed, priests renew commitment at Chrism Mass
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The priests of the Edmonton Archdiocese and Archbishop Thomas Collins renewed their commitment to be faithful servants of the Lord at the annual Chrism Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica April 5.
At the Mass, his fifth as archbishop of Edmonton, Collins also blessed and consecrated the sacred oils that will be used in sacramental celebrations throughout the archdiocese over the year. Retired Archbishop Joseph MacNeil and more than 100 priests from across the archdiocese assisted in the celebration.
In an interview after the Mass, Collins said, "The Mass of the Chrism is for me one of the most moving events of my life every year because we see the whole diocese together. We see all of the people so you get a real sense of our family as a diocese and I just find it so beautiful. It's just awesome."
Know our mission
In his homily, Collins said, "If we are to live lives that have meaning and direction, we have to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus and we have to know our mission, what the Holy Spirit sends us out to do, and then fulfill it."
"We need to see the mission, the fact that we are not simply drifting in this world on our own but that we are people who are sent and then faithfully, day by day, no matter what, year after year, to fulfill the mission that we have received."
He said the oils, which he later blessed, are signs of the mission that we've received. "Each one of them speaks of a different dimension of that mission and of the power of the Lord to be with us as we bring our mission to fulfillment."
Being a Christian and a priest of the Lord is not a job but a vocation that takes the bulk of our lives, the archbishop told a packed basilica. "It's profound and deep. It's who we are. And so we need to be reminded constantly of the reality of our sacred mission, which each one of us receives in different ways."
Collins urged priests to be conscious of their mission to be "servants of the servants" of the Lord and called on them to recommit themselves totally to the service of the Lord and his people.
When he asked, "Are you resolved to unite yourselves more closely to Christ and to try to become more like him by joyfully sacrificing your own pleasure and ambition to bring his peace and love to your brothers and sisters?" the priests replied in unison, "Yes, we are."
"My brothers and sisters, pray for your priests," Collins told the congregation. "Ask the Lord to bless them with the fullness of his heart, to help them to be faithful ministers of Christ."
The archbishop blessed and consecrated three kinds of oils: oil of the catechumens, the first oil used in Baptism; oil of the sick, used in Anointing of the Sick, and the sacred oil of chrism, which is used in Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders. The oils were distributed to parish representatives immediately following the Mass.
Near the end of the 90-minute service, Collins took a moment to acknowledge the seminarians who assisted at the service as well as the religious sisters and brothers present. He also paid tribute to Archbishop MacNeil, who will soon celebrate his 80th birthday. The congregation gave MacNeil a standing ovation.
Collins also called on the faithful to continue providing vocations to the priesthood, urging those who might have been thinking of religious life to "take the plunge" and call him at 469-1010. "It's a great life," he said. You won't regret it."
Camrose priest Sylvain Casavant has renewed his commitment to the priesthood every year since his ordination in 1992. "It makes me think again what it was all about when I was first ordained," he said. "And it helps me to remember again what it is all about today."
Father Eduardo Escober of Vermilion said the renewal of promises takes him back to the day of his ordination 25 years ago. "It reenergizes me," he said. "It strengthens, reinforces my commitment to serve the Lord."
Collins said he places great value in the renewal of commitments. "I think it is very important for every one of us, priests and bishops to renew our commitment because we need to always keep our commitment fresh in our minds and thus we always know what our mission is," he said in an interview after the Mass.
"And that's why we need these things, such as renewal of vows to remind us and help us straighten up so we can be faithful. It energizes us, gives us new life. Every time we hear those words again it straightens each one of us up."