Sandakan : Traditionally Chrism Mass is celebrated in the morning of Holy Thursday. However it is impossible for all priests to come on that day thus the mass was celebrated yesterday, Thursday 21st March 2013 a week before Holy Thursday at St Mary's Cathedral Sandakan. The tri-lingual celebration presided by Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom concelebrated by all seven Diocesan priests and a visiting Franciscan friar from Singapore drew a crowd of some 500 people.
The prelate, in his homily said that the celebration of Chrism recalls not only the priesthood of the ordained but also our common priesthood acquired through baptism sharing the priesthood of Christ. Through baptism we not only become Christian and are born to new life but it leads us to the creation story in the Book of Genesis, 'the Spirit which is the creating power of God hovers over the water'. In fact baptism points towards the beginning of creation through and in which humankind emerge.
He cited what Pope Francis said during his installation last Tuesday that the Church must look after creation, the environment and to serve the poor in our midst. And therefore this Chrism Mass is more meaningful to all ordained priests as the ministerial priesthood is closely related to the priesthood of Christ.
Turning to his brother priests, he invited them to renew with joy their ordination promises. 'This is a special moment of grace for all of us because we resolve to re-consecrate ourselves to the Lord, resolve to renew our commitment to holiness in life, resolve to renew our commitment to sacred celibacy and resolve to renew our commitment to faithful service.' He urged them to be happy all the time in doing God's work and to remain strong and faithful.
Today the priests gather together to co-consecrate the chrism as they share the sacred office of the Bishop in building up and sanctifying the people of God. It is a manifestation of the priests' communion with their Bishop.
The blessing of the Oil is the centre of the liturgical action of the entire liturgical year. In all Sacraments, oil is the sign of God's goodness reaching out through us and touching us in baptism, confirmation and in the holy order as the Sacrament of the Holy Spirit. In the annointing of the sick, in which oil is offered to us, assuring us of his care, giving us consolation and strength. This marks the life of every Christian from the day of baptism. We are soon to be in Holy Week and Easter Triduum, the centre and culmination of the liturgical year.
Addressing the people, he said, 'It is encouraging and refreshing to know that you are praying for us either in private or in your community. We are grateful to all of you and we want to thank you for your understanding, trust and support. On our part we will try our utmost to discharge our duty and responsibility in accordance with Christ's will.'
|Front row L-R : Fr David Garaman, Bishop Julius, Msgr Nicholas Ong, Fr Simon, Fr Joseph Nathan, Fr Marcellinus|
Back row L-R : Fr Jasery, Fr Anthony, Fr Thomas,