Bishops joins St. Valley faithful to celebrate Holy Oils
ST. DAVID, Maine — Most Reverend Bishop Robert P. Deeley joined parishioners and several priests from Aroostook County, Wednesday evening, April 12, to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Oils at St. David Catholic Church. As part of the Mass, Deeley distributed the sacred oils to representatives from county parishes.
Deeley, who was in the county in early March to participate in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion Mass at Holy Rosary Church in Caribou, commented before the recent Mass how much he enjoys travelling to northern Maine.
In his Homily, Deeley spoke of his recent “grace filled” journey to the Holy Land.
“It was special to walk the empty streets of Jerusalem, early in the morning,” Deeley said. “Walking to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and praying as the sun rose over the Sea of Galilee. These are the same places Jesus would have been.”
The sacred oils at the center of Wednesday’s Mass also have a tangible connection to the Holy Land. On his visit Deeley was given oil pressed from olives collected in Jerusalem by a Franciscan group. Some of that oil went into the making of the oils being distributed during Holy Week, he said.
Deeley also spoke of “one church” connected by the faithful, the clergy and those that work for and with the churches around the world.
“The unity of our diocese is grounded in our parishes,” Deeley said. “You represent all our faithful people whose lives are renewed in these oils.”
The mass was also an opportunity for the priests gathered to renew their commitment to service.
“It is a privilege for me to gather with these priests,” said Deeley, who shared supper with his brothers in the church basement prior to Mass. “We are blessed greatly with our priests.”
The oils include the oil of the sick, used to anoint the afflicted; the oil of catechumens, used to anoint those who wish to become members of the Catholic Church through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and first Eucharist; and the sacred oil of chrism, used for baptism, confirmation, the ordination of priests, and the consecration of altars.
The oils distributed were blessed on Tuesday, April 11, during the Chrism Mass, celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.
“Each begins as olive oil. Through its use in the sacraments, it takes on sacred meaning,” said the bishop.
Following the Mass Bishop Deeley greeted parishioners as they left the church, chatting with many of them. He and some of the other priests were planning to travel to Houlton Wednesday night.
The Easter Triduum begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper celebrated on the evening of Holy Thursday and continues through the evening of Easter Sunday, April 16.
Pictures and videos from many Masses and services throughout Holy Week will be posted on the diocesan website (www.portlanddiocese.org) and the diocesan Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PortlandDiocese). A special Holy Week section is also available on the diocesan website that includes listings of Masses, services, and other events at parishes; daily prayers and reflections; and many other resources: www.portlanddiocese.org/content/holy-week-2017.