1 April 2010 – Dagupan City. In a solemn celebration, the Christian faithful of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan gathered together for the celebration of the Chrism Mass today at the Parish Church of St. John the Evangelist in Dagupan City. The celebration began at 8:00 AM with the praying of the Morning Praise. It was followed by the recognition of the most generous Mission Sunday contributors among the parishes and the Archdiocesan Schools.
In his circular addressed to the clergy of the Archdiocese, Msgr. Socrates B. Villegas, DD, the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan reminded the priests that “the Chrism Mass is one of the sublime expressions of the sacramental brotherhood of priests under the headship of Christ represented in our particular Church by your Archbishop.” Every parish brought at least fifty lay delegates representing the parish pastoral council, lay liturgical ministers, youth leaders, social action ministers and BEC heads. Msgr. Renato P. Mayugba, DD, the Auxiliary of Lingayen-Dagupan and Msgr. Jesus A. Cabrera, DD, Bishop-Emeritus of Alaminos concelebrated in the mass.
Blessing of Holy Oils
During the mass, the oils of the Sick and the Sacred Chrism were blessed by Archbishop Villegas. The Oil of the Sick is used in Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to bring the strengthening and healing power of Christ, who is at work in the Church by the action of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Chrism is a mixture of olive oil (a rich oil, symbol of richness of God’s grace) and balsam fragrance (symbol of sweetness of Christian virtue). The Oil of Chrism is a sign of fullness of grace and spiritual strength; it consecrates and enables us to live out the call to follow Jesus the Christ (the anointed one) as baptized/confirmed/ordained Christians: "The holy chrism consecrated by the bishop is used to anoint the newly baptized, to seal the candidates for confirmation, and to anoint the hands of presbyters [priests] and the heads of bishops at their ordination, as well as in the rites of anointing pertaining to the dedication of churches and altars. The oil of the catechumens is used in the preparation of the catechumens for their baptism. The oil of the sick is used to bring comfort and support to the sick in their infirmity." (Ceremonial of Bishops, 274).
The Sacred Chrism/Holy Chrism is used at Baptism, when the priest anoints the candidate on the crown of the head with Chrism saying: “God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin and given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of His body, sharing everlasting life. Amen.” It is also used at Confirmation when the bishop anoints the forehead of the candidate with chrism saying, "Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit." When a man is being ordained to the priesthood his hands are anointed with the oil of chrism; and when a priest is being consecrated a bishop his head is anointed by the consecrating bishop with chrism.
Whenever the Holy Oils are used in a diocese, the ministry of the Bishop who consecrated them is symbolically present.
One Flock, One Eucharist Gathered Around the Bishop
The following statement from the Second Vatican Council can help us understand the significance of the Chrism mass for the Church:
The bishop is to be considered the high priest of his flock from whom the life of his people in Christ is in some way derived and on whom it in some way depends. Therefore, all should hold in the greatest esteem the liturgical life of the diocese centered around the bishop, especially in his cathedral church. They must be convinced that the principal manifestation of the Church consists in the full, active participation of all God’s holy people in the same liturgical celebrations, especially in the same Eucharist, in one prayer, at one altar, at which the bishop presides, surrounded by his college of priests and by his ministers. (Second Vatican Council. Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium), No. 41)
“Treasure their love”
In his homily, Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, DD said that “the priesthood is a mystery. The priesthood is a gift. The priesthood is a promise of God.”
He reminded the priests of the love of God for them. “Brother priests, you are loved. Brother priests, I love you,” he said. He then went on to commend the people for their love for their priests. “The people of Central Pangasinan are so good. Do not take their love for granted,” he said. To the priests, he said, “Treasure their love!”
Renewal of the Priestly Promises
After the homily the priests renewed their commitment to priestly service in the presence of Archbishop Villegas and God’s holy people. He asked the priests if they are resolved to unite themselves more closely to Christ and to try to become more like him by joyfully sacrificing their own pleasure and ambition to bring his peace and love to their brothers and sisters”. To which each priest answered, “I am”.
Archbishop Villegas then further asked the priests: “ Are you resolved to be faithful ministers of the mysteries of God, to celebrate the Eucharist and the other liturgical services with sincere devotion? Are you resolved to imitate Jesus Christ, the head and shepherd of the Church, by teaching the Christian faith without thinking of your own profit, solely for the well-being of the people you were sent to serve? Each priest answered, “I am.”
“Salamat . . .”
After the mass, many of the parishioners who attended the celebration congratulated their priests. Some brought streamers thanking their parish priests. “Salamat ta nanpari kayo!” (Thank you for becoming a priest). Others wrote: “Thank you for being our parish priest!” The priests were greatly touched by the outpouring of love manifested by their parishioners.