Flores for the Immaculate Conception (anoited priestly fraternity edition)

chrism mass 2

Holy Tuesday was Chrism Mass day in Charlotte Diocese, the best diocese in the world. The largest numbers of priests in the history of the diocese showed up for this Mass not only to assist in the consecration of the Chrism, but also to renew their priestly promises which are ever so ecclesial, ever so Christological, ever so sacramental, ever so sacrificial, ever so evangelical, ever so immersing of the priest who is to be in the world but not of the world. I promised to put these up on line so that I could more easily read them out to priests who cannot possibly have made it to this event. The Bishop asks the questions:

Beloved sons,
on the anniversary of that day
when Christ our Lord conferred his priesthood
on his Apostles and on us,
are you resolved to renew
in the presence of your Bishop and God’s holy people,
the promises you once made?

The Priests, all together, respond: I am.

Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus
and more closely conformed to him,
denying yourselves and confirming those promises
about sacred duties towards Christ’s Church
which, prompted by love of him,
you willingly and joyfully pledged
on the day of your priestly ordination?

Priests: I am.

Are you resolved to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God
in the Holy Eucharist and the other liturgical rites
and to discharge faithfully the sacred office of teaching,
following Christ the Head and Shepherd,
not seeking any gain,
but moved only by zeal for souls?

Priests: I am.

Then, turned towards the people, the Bishop continues:

As for you, dearest sons and daughters,
pray for your Priests,
that the Lord may pour out his gifts abundantly upon them,
and keep them faithful as ministers of Christ, the High Priest,
so that they may lead you to him,
who is the source of salvation.

People: Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

And pray also for me,
that I may be faithful to the apostolic office
entrusted to me in my lowliness
and that in your midst I may be made day by day
a living and more perfect image of Christ,
the Priest, the Good Shepherd,
the Teacher and the Servant of all.

People: Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

May the Lord keep us all in his charity
and lead all of us,
shepherds and flock,
to eternal life.

All: Amen.

His perfect homily for the Mass. The bishop loves his priests:

Yours truly is directly in front of the sacristy door to the right…

Those questions with those answers are, believe me, flowers for the Immaculate Conception, much more than the flowering trees outside. To get there to do just this many priests had to make some small sacrifices. I had been up until 12:30 AM. I got up at 2:00 AM. I left after 4:00 AM. The Cathedral is far away from Andrews. Hours into my trip, I was horrified to see the sunrise due East as I traveled due East, with still some hours to go. Staring into the sun is never a good idea. Doing it for a couple of hours…

chrism mass 1
chrism mass 4Maybe that burning my eyes out of their eye sockets will count as penance for this day in Holy Week. I hope so, because the priestly fraternity meal after Mass was, as always, spectacular. Thank you, your Excellency! In fact — and I hesitate to report this — there was desert and I did cave in again, using as my excuse, yet again, of priestly fraternity and the fact that this would get me most of the way back to my parish which borders Knoxville Diocese in Tennessee. I am so weak! While it was five and some hours coming, the way back always takes longer. I stopped in Sylva to help with the Diaconate program, taking the back mountain way to get there, and didn’t get back home till about midnight. Anyway, the priestly fraternity discussions at table were just so very pleasant. One priest was describing how his parish has become a sister parish of another parish in India. He described his travels and their plans. I was very happy to do it, as our tiny little parish has been preparing to do the same for a couple of months now with a parish that is also over in India.

chrism mass 3

The Missionaries of Mercy came up in the discussions and what might be done as the Year of Mercy continues. The bishops were only just very recently sent the names of the Missionaries of Mercy with all their biographical details, which may amount to some some 400 pages of reading for the bishops. Perhaps they will get to it before the Year of Mercy is over! Yikes!

Anyway, the Rector of the Cathedral, a good friend, is happy to have us there. As it is, our diocese has two Missionaries, including yours truly. After that, there is only one other Missionary in the entire ecclesiastical province. Anyway, I spoke with my fellow Missionary and we will be getting together soon to plot out some events. I look forward to that.

Meanwhile, what’s that card on the table, you ask?

Each priest had a hand-made card at his place at table as made by the students of the Cathedral parochial school. Brilliant! This is how to encourage vocations!

chrism mass 5

At the end of everything, the only two remaining standing were myself and the bishop. We had a great discussion about the priesthood. But that’s one of those priestly fraternity things that could never be talked about since, otherwise, it would not be priestly fraternity, right? This is a good aspect of “clericalism” which has to be promoted and respected. I love being a priest. It’s all about Jesus. Pray for vocations!


Filed under Flores, Vocations

3 responses to “Flores for the Immaculate Conception (anoited priestly fraternity edition)

  1. What a wonderful day! Looks like they indeed have a very nice meal for you all. If anyone wishes to hear Bishop’s homily it is available on Youtube. It was a homily that shows Bishop truly loves his priests. Father now maybe you could tell us what each of the three oils is, how they were blessed and how and where each one is used. Many of us know none of this or get them mixed up. We always thought they just “magically” appeared in the church. (With understanding comes appreciation)

    • Father George David Byers

      @ Mrs Donna Kaup – Ah but you have a Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is also on-line! ;-)

  2. elizdelphi

    So, I read in the Catholic news that “the best diocese in the world” (I have started thinking [… ! …]) is opening a minor seminary. Are you going to be helping with this?

    I definitely think “thank you priest” meals don’t break any fast. That would be impossible. Is not “Eucharistia” “thanksgiving”?

    My diocese has no Missionaries of Mercy, though we have the “Knights of Divine Mercy” whose founder Father Rick Heilman is also state chaplain for the Knights of Columbus and I have speculated that since he is over extended in his many commitments (and could not possibly have traveled to Rome for instance) that may be why he is not a Missionary of Mercy. I got to go to our Chrism Mass last night thanks to a friend (I don’t drive) and I am always very joyful and grateful to see so many of the priests surrounding the bishop, and lay people from all over. You will pardon me if I think our diocese is the best (at least the best I’ve lived in. :-) We sang the official Year of Mercy hymn “Misericordes sicut Pater” which was especially beautifully led by the choir. Tonight we have Tenebrae with the bishop. I love Holy Week. I love priests! How can anyone love Jesus and not love His priests!

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