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.
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 everyday.”
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.
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. “Know and believe that through the blessing of the oil of the catechumenate, the oil of the sick and the sacred chrism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ is here, touching us with his care, his life, healing and love.”
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.
“It’s really important for them to recognize the dedication that they have,” she said.