Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 13, 2009
Chrism Mass hears a call to keep eyes on the Lord
Archbishop tells priests, deacons to focus on the Lord and lead humanity to the Father
WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Gabriel Hughes, 12, of St. Matthew's Parish in Rocky Mountain House receives the oils for his parish from Archbishop Smith as his parish priest Fr. Kazimierz Kubat and parish worker Karen Boston look on.
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Like the early worshippers of Nazareth, Christians today must keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, says the archbishop of Edmonton.
“This call and mission — directing our attention to Christ and keeping it fixed upon him — is shared by all members of the Church, clergy and faithful alike,” says Archbishop Richard Smith.
“Priests must always remain focused upon Jesus. Called by the Lord and empowered by the Spirit to act in persona Christi, our eyes must always be fixed on him.”
Speaking at the Chrism Mass April 6, Smith used the Gospel of the day to underscore his message.
LISTEN TO JESUS
“The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him,” he said. “In tonight’s Gospel passage, St. Luke uses this phrase to describe the attentiveness of the people as Jesus speaks.”
We should be equally attentive.
“I suggest that we receive this simple phrase of St. Luke — ‘the eyes of all were fixed on him’ — as a wonderful summary expression of the call and mission that are ours as disciples of Jesus Christ.
“The disciple is always to remain focused upon the Lord, recognizing in him, and in him alone, the one who leads humanity to the Father.”
During the Mass some 105 priests and 12 deacons renewed their commitment to priestly service.
“Only by a return of our attention again and again to Christ, only by fixing our eyes anew upon the Lord, his love, mercy, and unlimited power, are our hearts lifted up and we are renewed in joy and strength for the fulfillment of the task entrusted to us,” Smith said.
Father Leo Cordeau of St. Edmund’s Parish in Edmonton has been renewing his commitment to priestly service for almost 47 years and said it’s a healthy practice.
“It’s nice to do it and gives (lay) people an occasion to pray for us,” he said. “We all need prayer.”
During the Mass, Smith also blessed and consecrated three types of oil for use in the sacraments of the Church: oil of the catechumens, the first oil used in Baptism; oil of the sick, used in Anointing of the Sick, and the sacred chrism, which is used in Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders.
From Jasper to Lloydminster, from Grande Cache to Olds, the laity and clergy of the archdiocese lined up to receive the oils from the archbishop.
Gabriel Hughes, 12, was one of eight delegates from St. Matthew’s Parish in Rocky Mountain House who came up to receive the oils for their parish.
Smith handed the three small bottles to Hughes, one of 30 youngsters from St. Matthew’s Parish who will be confirmed June 6 using the consecrated oils.
“I’m delighted that I’ll get to use the oils that I’m receiving today,” Hughes said. “This is very special to me.”
The archbishop said young people must keep their eyes fixed on Christ as well and adults have a responsibility to help them do so.
“Never before have there been so many forces of distraction impacting upon the lives of the young: the Internet, email, chat rooms, cell phones, MP3 players, video games and so on.
“Young people are the Church’s greatest treasure, and they need to learn, by word and example of those who nurture and lead them, that true hope and joy is found only by keeping our eyes fixed on Christ, remaining riveted to his message, because only he has the words of everlasting life.”
People who do not yet know the Lord, young and old alike, will only be drawn to fix their eyes on Christ if our own personal witness invites them to do so, Smith told the congregation.
Near the end of the 90-minute service, Smith took a moment to acknowledge his priests, thanking them for their service.
ARCHBISHOP EMERITUS MACNEIL
He also paid tribute to Archbishop Emeritus Joseph MacNeil, who this year is marking 40 years as a bishop.
“Your Grace, on behalf of all of us, I extend our warmest congratulations and thank you for your faithful witness, service and leadership.
“We pledge to you our love and our prayers.”