PRINCE ALBERT — Parishioners involved with the social justice program and those visiting the sick and shut-in were the focus of the March 19 Chrism Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Prince Albert.
During his homily, Bishop Albert Thévenot, M. Afr., spoke of how oil is part of our daily lives. He said it is important to us, even in our journeys of faith — like the oil of the sick.
“We know people in our society who are ill, suffering from cancer and perhaps at the end of their journey. Do we think of anointing our sick? Those who are dying?”
Many years ago it was thought that if a person was anointed too early, they would die soon after. Thévenot assured the congregation that oil does not end anyone’s life, at which the congregation laughed.
He made reference to current end-of-life issues. “We as Christians have to stand up for the healing hand of Christ in our world today. We cannot determine our death; we have to wait for its call. Let God decide our destiny.”
He spoke of those in each parish who were preparing for baptism. “We will anoint them at their baptism, saying, ‘You are special; we choose and anoint you. We want you to be a person of God.’ ”
He explained the making of the holy oil used in the sacraments. A person is anointed at baptism so that they might be prepared on their journey of faith.
“We anoint him with this chrism, the oil that has perfume. His face is going to shine. He will smell so good! You have given your child back to God.”
At the ordination of a priest or bishop, he explained, their hands are anointed with chrism. “Their hands are consecrated to serve, to embrace the sufferings of their people, to serve the people of their parishes, to bring the Body of Christ to the sick and shut-in. Their hands are meant to be the hands of Christ, which come to your hands so you can you bring peace and love.
“These three oils will be consecrated and blessed so that we can continue the mission of Christ given to us, to you, to me and to all our pastors. Together, we are forming the Body of Christ. That’s why the Chrism Mass is so important — because you take the oils back to all the parts of the diocese to take the mission of the diocese and the church to your people.”
He asked particiants to bring the message back to their people, to let others know what they heard and saw at the Chrism Mass when they visited with friends and people in the community.
Two traditional drummers from Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation processed in with the bread and wine.
A group of youth and young adults named the Fire Mission from Deanery One, Prince Albert and area, were commissioned after communion. The group consists of volunteers from the community who go door to door to invite people to church and the Easter Triduum services. They offer to take prayer intentions.
Parish representatives, church administrators involved in First Nations ministry, priests and all those in attendance were invited to stand and renew their commitment to their parishes and the needs of others.
Thévenot mixed the chrism perfume into the oil and blessed it. Each parish representative and their pastor met the bishop at the altar to receive the three blessed oil containers to take back to their parish.