Chrism Mass celebrated in Madison Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
chrism mass
Auxiliary Bishop James T. Schuerman of Milwaukee, blesses the oils at the Chrism Mass held at St. Maria Goretti Church, Madison, on April 16. He was assisted by seminarian Anthony Kersting. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photos/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- “Tonight, we celebrate the Mass of Chrism, in which the oils are blessed and consecrated. These oils stand for essential dimensions of our Church’s mission. And, their blessing instructs us as to how we are to carry out Christ’s work in the world, today,” said Auxiliary Bishop James T. Schuerman of Milwaukee.

Bishop Schuerman was the main celebrant at the annual Chrism Mass held at St. Maria Goretti Church in Madison on April 16.

At the start of the Mass, Diocesan Administrator Msgr. James Bartylla welcomed Bishop Schuerman and thanked him for presiding, as the Diocese of Madison is without a bishop following the death of Bishop Robert C. Morlino last year.

Monsignor Bartylla thanked him for his “special kind of sacrifice” in not being with his own presbyterate in Milwaukee during the evening of their Chrism Mass.

Significance of the oils

During his homily, Bishop Schuerman preached on the oils that were to be blessed and their respective roles in the mission of the Church.

“We use the Oil of Catechumens to anoint those preparing for Baptism,” he said.

“This oil reminds us that the mission of the Church is one of conversion.”

Bishop Schuerman added, “The Oil of the Sick reminds us, in a very special way, of this mission” of healing and care.

He said it helps us to reflect on the reality of “Church life in our parishes.”Sacred Chrism, which is used to consecrate altars, in Baptisms and Confirmations, and to ordain priest and bishops, “reminds us that we are the anointed ones of God in Christ,” the bishop said.

He added, “The Chrism Mass, in a special way, lifts up the unity between the priests and the diocesan bishop. And, I’m praying for you in a very special way, this evening, as you await the appointment of a new bishop for the Diocese of Madison.”

Following the homily, the priests of the diocese renewed their commitment to priestly service.

They resolved to renew the promises they made at their ordinations, to be more united with Jesus, and not to seek any gain, but be moved only by zeal for souls.

Presenting the oils

Following the renewal of commitment, the oils to be blessed were brought up and presented to the bishop.

Members of parish Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programs assisted with bringing up the Oil of the Catechumens, parish nurses from the diocese assisted with bringing up the Oil of the Sick, and diocesan seminarians assisted with bringing up the Sacred Chrism.

Transitional Deacon Bill Van Wagner, along with Permanent Deacons Dick Martin, from St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison, and Lawrence Schmitt, from Corpus Christi Parish in Avoca, Boscobel, Clyde, and Muscoda, presented the oils to the bishop.

Blessing the oils

Bishop Schuerman first blessed the Oil of the Sick, praying that those who need it “by your blessing, as a safeguard for body, soul, and spirit may be freed from all pain, all infirmity, and all sickness.”

For the Oil of the Catechumens, the bishop prayed to “grant courage to the catechumens who will be anointed with it, so that, receiving divine wisdom and power, they may understand more deeply the Gospel of your Christ.”

After mixing in a fragrance to the chrism oil, and mixing it, he prayed for God to “bless and sanctify this oil, so that all who are outwardly anointed with it may be inwardly transformed and come to share in eternal salvation.”

Toward the end of the Mass, Msgr. Michael Burke, pastor emeritus of St. Maria Goretti, called each parish forth by its vicariate to receive the oils to take back to their parishes.

These oils will be used in various sacraments throughout the year.

Assisting with the Mass

The Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre and the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard Assembly 1200 Madison led the procession into Mass.

Also in attendance were Consecrated Virgins of the Diocese of Madison.

Concelebrating priests were Monsignor Bartylla; members of the diocesan College of Consultors, including Monsignor Burke and Msgr. Kevin Holmes, rector of Cathedral Parish at St. Raphael in Madison; Fr. Scott Emerson, parochial administrator of St. Maria Goretti Parish, and other priests of the diocese.

Transitional Deacon Steve Brunner served as Deacon of the Word.

Craig Wood, from St. Bernard Parish in Middleton, and Matt Regner, from Blessed Sacrament Parish in Madison, served as readers.

The Madison Diocesan Choir, under the direction of Dr. Patrick Gorman, provided music.

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