Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Diocese of Paterson's Chrism Mass

I finally made it to the Diocese's Chrism Mass.  I borrowed a camera from work and got some pictures but most of them are fuzzy as either I or the priest was moving and the flash was off.  Oh well, it wasn't about taking pictures it was about the priesthood and good, holy priests.  The Mass was bilingual of course Bishop Serratelli preached in both Spanish and English, with the English portion getting the bulk of the homily, though I'm pretty sure that basically the same thing was said in either language.  As usual I don't remember much of what the Bishop said in his homily, but I do remember thinking as I sat way in the back of our Cathedral, "he's preaching to his priests."  He did not let his priests, himself or his people off the hook. He called all of us to be true to the Church, to not be afraid to be Catholic and to speak out.  He reminded his priests and his people, that the priests are called liked St. Peter and how much like St. Peter most begin their priesthood with enthusiasm and vigor and slowly they begin to ask questions, be it, where do I get the money for all our programs, our school, our buildings.  Bishop Serratelli went on to speak on how we need good holy men, like those there tonight and I couldn't help but think he's preaching to the choir, but our priests do need to hear thanks and good job because so often they are put down and ignored because they are speaking the truth.

The homily was geared towards the priests but that doesn't mean the lay person can't take anything away from it, as basically the priest is called to teach and defend Church Teaching as are the faithful members of the Church and Bishop Serratelli said as much.  At the end of the Mass we got the short "second homily" as Fr. Brian calls it or as most others would call it the comments before the close of Mass.  In this short but forceful commentary the good Bishop reminded the people that it was our duty to pray for and defend Church teaching especially now as the Freedom of religion is being challenged and how laws are against what we teach.  I remember actually saying "Rock on Serratelli!" as I stood at the back after Communion so I could position myself to take pictures of the priests and deacons walking out.

The Chrism Mass is one of those that is often said to be the priests' Mass as they are renewing their commitment to the priesthood and to the Diocese as is the Bishop.  One of my favorite parts of any con-celebrated Mass is when the priests all chant the "through Him, with Him and in Him" at the end of the Eucharistic prayer.  I don't know why but I have always liked that.  I also remember at the beginning of the Eucharistic prayer and I'm sure it's actually in the prayer but it was nice to hear "Holy Mother Church", and to have the Church referred to in the feminine pronouns.  

What also strikes me is how happy the priests are, I knew a good few of the men there, but the ones I know personally and with whom I still keep in contact with, Fathers Brando, Brian, Martin, George, Kevin, Geno and of course the Bishop all had smiles on their face.  Fr. George had his classic ear to ear grin on. Fr. Kevin was very happy to see me and actually waved to me which was odd, but Fr. Kevin actually me recently.  Fr. Brian and Fr. Martin see me all the time as they are my parish priests.  Fr. Geno was in classic Fr. Geno mode of just happy.  Fr. Brando was typical of himself, a huge smile to greet me along with the classic you look great comment, he will always be one of my favorites just for that.  ;)

I don't know if my parish priests saw me or not, but when I went to Mass on Tuesday Fr. Martin came back into the Church and said "Mary nice to see you" and gave me the usual kiss greeting. While not overly out of the ordinary it was not at all how he normally greets me, makes me wonder if either he's finally gotten used to the parish or if he actually saw me at the Chrism Mass but opted to not say anything.

Anyway Bishop Serratelli gave a wonderful homily and reminded us that we need to pray for and defend the Church now more than ever and that we need to give our children to the Church for vocations.  I've often said to myself and God, "you can have all my sons, just give me a good holy Catholic man to have some with."  God can have the girls too, but I've always felt like the sons should I have any would be priests.  Oh well, that's not happening anytime soon.

As usual the Chrism Mass was beautiful and a great way to start Holy Week.  Hopefully I can participate fully in the Triddumm this year and not just Friday and Saturday, but that's up to the Holy Spirit.

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