Blessing of holy oils celebrates Christ ‘touching us with his love’

Categories: Around the Diocese

The Visitor

About 35 confirmation candidates made the 140-mile trek from Breckenridge to St. Cloud to join a standing-room-only congregation at St. Mary’s Cathedral for the annual chrism Mass, where the holy oils to be used in parishes for the coming year were blessed.

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Bishop Donald Kettler breathes over chrism oil, a gesture symbolizing the infusion of the Holy Spirit, during the chrism Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral March 26. Deacon Gabriel Walz, a transitional deacon to be ordained to the priesthood this June, and Autumn Zupko, a confirmation candidate from Sacred Heart Parish in Flensburg hold the vessel of oil. Photo by Dianne Towalski/The Visitor

Grant Dahl, the religious education director at St. Mary of the Presentation Parish in Breckenridge, said it was important to have the students attend “to see that there is more to the church than just what goes on in their local community.

“This is an opportunity to experience the universal church,” he said. “They don’t get to see this every day.”

The Mass was attended by priests from throughout the diocese who renewed their priestly promises as a group in front of Bishop Donald Kettler. The diocese’s deacons and lay people also renewed their commitment to serve and spread the Gospel.

Glass vessels of the holy oils were then presented to Bishop Kettler for blessing.

Deacon Jim Trout and representatives of the health care community carried the oil of the sick, used in the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. Deacon David Lindmeier and members of the elect who will receive the sacraments of initiation — baptism, confirmation and first Eucharist — at this year’s Easter Vigil carried the oil for catechumens.

The oil for sacred chrism was presented by Deacon Gabriel Walz, who will be ordained a priest this year for the diocese, and confirmation candidates from Sacred Heart Parish in Flensburg. Chrism is used in the sacraments of initiation and holy orders as well as for the dedication of churches and altars.

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The oil used in baptism, stands on a pedestal after it is blessed during the chrism Mass. Photo by Dianne Towalski/The Visitor

In his homily, Bishop Kettler said the sacraments “bring us the touch of Jesus Christ, the touch of God.”

“Tonight we celebrate Jesus Christ touching us with his love, life, healing, forgiveness, hope and peace,” he said.

Christ will be present in every parish in the coming year, he added, “through the touch of the three oils which we will now bless and which we carry back tonight to our parishes and our people.”

Among the concelebrants of the Mass were Bishop Emeritus John Kinney, Benedictine Abbot John Klassen of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, and Father Kermit Holl, prior of the Crosier community in Onamia. The gift-bearers were Benedictine Sister Michaela Hedican, prioress of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, and Franciscan Sister Bea Eichten, community minister of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls.

Tracey Wieber of St. John Parish in Foley said she brought her two youngest children to the Mass so they could have a better understanding of where the oils come from when they see people being baptized and confirmed.

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Lorraine Curto, Ellen Palmer and Jan Hoelscher bottle the holy oils after they were blessed by Bishop Donald Kettler during the chrism Mass. Photo by Dianne Towalski/The Visitor

And, she added, it’s important for them to see the priests renewing their promises. “It’s really important for them to recognize the dedication that they have,” she said.