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KOTA KINABALU – On Mar 26 and 30 across the Arch/dioceses of Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Keningau, the Arch/bishops gathered with their priests, seminarians and deacons, consecrated religious and lay faithful to celebrate the Chrism Mass where two important things took place: the priests publicly renewed their priestly promises before their bishops, and the Oils of Catechumens and the Sick were blessed and the Holy Chrism consecrated.
Traditionally the Chrism Mass is celebrated on the Thursday of Holy Week. However, it proved to be difficult for the clergy to be at the Cathedral with the bishop and their parishes in the evening, this rite has been moved to an earlier day close to Easter.
The Chrism Mass, which the bishop concelebrates with his presbyterium with the blessing of the oils, manifests the communion of the priests with their bishop in the same priesthood and ministry of Christ.
“It is a celebration of the entire diocese which is represented here: the laity, the consecrated religious, the order of deacons, priests and bishops,” underlined Archbishop John Wong.
He continued, “Through Chrism, we are a consecrated people, a people set apart for a task/mission: consecrating the world/parish/community/family through our prayer and our witnessing.”
In a unique way, Chrism focuses on the ordained priesthood of the bishops and priests. The Archbishop informed the faithful that he together with the clergy came away on a day’s recollection to prepare themselves to renew their priestly promises “to discharge faithfully the Sacred Office of teaching” and “be faithful servants of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and other liturgical rites.”
Meanwhile in the Diocese of SANDAKAN, at the Chrism Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral, Bishop Julius Gitom reminded that we are all priestly people: clergy, religious and laity. “By virtue of our baptism, we share in the priesthood of Christ,” said Bishop Julius.
He explained the uses of the various oils: the oil of the sick is used for the anointing of the sick, the oil of catechumens and Sacred Chrism are used for Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination of priests and the consecration of new altars.
Bishop Julius called on the parishioners to continue to support and pray for him and the clergy to continue faithfully to celebrate the Sacraments.
In KENINGAU, Bishop Cornelius Piong celebrated the Chrism Mass with all the clergy at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Keningau Mar 30, and took note of the large presence of parishioners, that they were there not solely for the oil but were motivated by the yearning to be with Christ our Saviour especially during this Holy week.
In the renewal of the priestly promises, he invited the priests to recall and to renew the promises they had professed when they were first ordained as priest, “The tasks commissioned must be carried out well without losing the spirit. Service must be motivated by the priest for love of his Master, Jesus. I always remind you to serve not out of obligation because it would not last. When our service is motivated by our love for Jesus and His church, then we would serve with zeal, we would persevere and would not burn out. If we serve out of obligation, eventually that person will leave his or her calling.” – CS/DOSPO/KOMSOS