April 10, 2015

Archbishop calls faithful to renew society at annual chrism Mass

More than 130 priests who minister in central and southern Indiana join Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin in blessing chrism oil during the annual archdiocesan chrism Mass celebrated on March 31 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. The Mass featured the blessing of holy oils used in several sacraments and in the dedication of altars and church buildings. During the Mass, the priests also renewed their ordination promises. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

More than 130 priests who minister in central and southern Indiana join Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin in blessing chrism oil during the annual archdiocesan chrism Mass celebrated on March 31 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. The Mass featured the blessing of holy oils used in several sacraments and in the dedication of altars and church buildings. During the Mass, the priests also renewed their ordination promises. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Holy oils used in the Church’s sacraments were blessed during the archdiocese’s annual chrism Mass celebrated on March 31 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.

Representatives from parishes across central and southern Indiana then received oils that will be used to anoint people in the celebration of baptism, confirmation and the anointing of the sick in their faith communities during the coming year.

(Related: Photo Gallery | Video of the Mass)

In his homily during the chrism Mass, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin connected the blessing of the oils and sacraments that will be celebrated with them to the effect that this worship of God has in broader society.

“Because we have been anointed, our ministry will become a healing balsam that is poured out on a society that has been wounded by intolerance, hatred and a shrill and cynical indifference,” said Archbishop Tobin. “Together, we will bear witness to Jesus Christ, himself the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of this Earth.”

He noted that the 133 parishes of the archdiocese spread across 39 counties are “communities of the missionary disciples of Jesus Christ, nourished by the word of God and by the saving power of Jesus, the sole high priest. In that priesthood, all the baptized share.”

Diana Bird received blessed oils for St. Mary-of-the-Woods Parish in St. Mary-of-the-Woods at the far western end of the archdiocese.

She said that it was “overwhelming” to worship with people from many other parishes across central and southern Indiana.

“I’m from a very small parish,” Bird said. “It’s almost hard to remember sometimes that we’re a part of so much more. It makes you feel proud that the faith is growing, getting stronger, and that we’ve overcome so much.”

She also said that attending the chrism Mass deepened her experience of the solemn liturgies of Holy Week.

“After you’ve picked up the oils, you feel like there’s so much more,” Bird said. “You do not want to miss one of the Masses. You want to go to all of them. You want all of it. And you want more.”

Also participating in the Mass were representatives of several religious communities located in the archdiocese, all of whom are observing the Church’s Year of Consecrated Life.

Benedictine Novice Timothy Herrmann came to the Mass from Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad in the southwestern corner of the archdiocese. He was received as a novice at Saint Meinrad in January, shortly after the Year of Consecrated Life began.

“It’s nice to be present here to understand better how we can pray for the archdiocese, and also be a witness to the people here of what consecrated life is and what it can be,” said Novice Timothy. “We’re not perfect, but it’s nice to be able to share our witness with them and receive the witness of the people of the archdiocese.”

Joe Cannello came to the chrism Mass from St. Patrick Parish in Salem at the southern end of the archdiocese. He appreciated how so many people from so many places can be brought together as one in worship.

“One of the things that I really like about being a Catholic is that, no matter where you go, Catholicism is the same,” he said. “There are people from all over who are Catholic that go to the same Mass every Sunday and have the same readings.”

Sue Girth received the blessed oils for St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus near the geographic center of the archdiocese. It was her first time to participate in a chrism Mass. She looked forward to seeing more than 130 priests who minister in central and southern Indiana renew their ordination promises during the Mass.

“I’m looking forward to being a witness to that,” Girth said. “It’s rejuvenating to see their dedication and see them renew their vows and make that continuous commitment that is a part of their lives.”

Father Benjamin Syberg, associate pastor of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis, near the northern end of the archdiocese, renewed his ordination promises for the first time since being ordained a priest last June.

“Those promises were much more clear to me—having been a priest for this past year,” he said. “I was able to say, ‘Yes,’ so much more freely and so much more joyfully, even than I did a year ago.”

Witnessing Father Syberg and so many other priests renew their ordination promises was his brother, transitional Deacon Andrew Syberg, who will make those same promises when he is ordained a priest in about two months.

“It was pretty moving, especially with my brother having been ordained last year,” Deacon Syberg said of seeing the priests renew their promises. “It’s always a beautiful moment, but knowing that I’ll be [renewing my promises] in a year made it a little bit more special.”

In his homily, Archbishop Tobin reflected on the dedication of the priests ministering in the archdiocese who have remained faithful to their promises through many years of challenges and change.

“Those of you who have come this afternoon as representatives of your individual parishes are daily witnesses to the goodness, the generosity and sincerity of your priests,” Archbishop Tobin said. “Let there be no doubt about it. We have great priests in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.” †

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