Catholic Herald staff
Less than one month into his new role as bishop of the Diocese of Superior, Bishop James P. Powers celebrated his first Chrism Mass, Tuesday, March 15, at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Superior.
Before a crowd estimated at 800, Bishop Powers explained why the diocese’s Chrism Mass always falls in the fifth week of Lent.
“Traditionally, the Chrism Mass is celebrated Holy Thursday morning – the day we celebrate our Lord’s instituting the holy Eucharist and the priesthood – and how naturally and beautifully the day flows in those dioceses that do gather Holy Thursday to bless and consecrate the holy oils to be used in the celebration of the sacraments for the next year,” he said. “Because of the distances of our dioceses and the absolute importance of truly celebrating this great ritual of our faith as the people of God of the diocese, for as long as I can remember, we have gathered on the Tuesday of the fifth week of Lent leading us into Palm Sunday and Holy Week.”
Priests also renew their vows during the Chrism Mass, and the bishop encouraged priests and deacons, especially in the Year of Mercy, to “reach out to the poor – the blind – the oppressed – those who are held captive in so many ways.
“Our God has anointed us deacons and priests not for some special favor or privilege for ourselves, but that we might take the gift we have received from God and in turn share it with others,” he said.
Addressing all gathered, Bishop Powers added, “And to all the faithful of the Diocese of Superior, I say: Love your priests – pray for your priests as they love and pray for you. I also ask that you love and pray for me as I love and pray for you.
“How important it is that we love and pray for each other,” he continued, “because it is only as we journey in faith together as one that the holy anointing we received in the sacraments becomes more than a fragrant perfume that hides the stench of death and decay and truly becomes the oil of the father’s love – hope – joy – and gladness that Jesus came into this world to bring us.”