Yesterday was a sightseeing adventure of sorts. I don't know when I first heard of the Chrism Mass...probably a few years ago...but since then, I've wanted to attend. Just to "see". It's been one of those "someday" things. This year, I decided "someday" had come. Back in January or February, I asked one of my morning Mass buddies if she would like to accompany me. She agreed, and we scheduled a day off from work.
Our Chrism Mass is held at the Cathedral on the morning of Holy Thursday. I remember when I was a newbie to daily Mass, I was broken-hearted to find no daily Mass on Holy Thursday. The Chrism Mass is attended by most priests of the diocese. That in, and of itself, was powerful. The deacons (I saw my dentist!) and then the priests process in two by two. They take up an entire section of the cathedral from back to front. All ages, races, shapes and sizes - what a variety God calls! The voices raised in prayer and song fill the entire space.
The sacred oils were brought forward by representatives from the community and presented for the Bishop's blessing. The priests renewed their commitment to their call. There was a near-disaster when a tray just-blessed Chrism in small bottles for each parish to take home being carried to the hall next door went sliding. I think only a bottle or two broke.
I have always wondered what priests do during the Eucharistic prayer or during Mass when there are too many priests to fit in the sanctuary. Now I know. They remain standing at their places in the pews and pray parts of the Eucharistic prayer aloud. I wish I could have recorded it as they all chanted, "Through Him, With Him, In Him, In the Unity of the Holy Spirit..." At Communion, they go forward to the altar and "self-communicate" the Body and Blood of Jesus. In our case, they went three at a time, and still everyone in the cathedral had received before the priests were finished.
I didn't see my parish priest as the priests processed in, but during the Eucharistic prayer, I realized that he was in the sanctuary...right up there with the Bishop. When it came time for Holy Communion, an usher led us from the front left side of the cathedral to the back middle aisle. There, in the back of the church, we received Communion. And of all the priests in the place, it was my pastor who was there to offer Him to me. That was a nice divine touch!
I wish I had a few pictures to share. I took my camera in...just in case...but it wasn't really appropriate to take pictures.
My friend and I had lunch and coffee, and then I picked up my young one from school. I missed a "free dress" day and a dance (a sure recipe for chaos) at my school, Darn! My friend and I think we might make this an annual event!
Any ideas for another edition of Catholic Sightseeing?
ASK FATHER: Irreverent priest at a funeral Mass.
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