WASHINGTON, DC — On Tuesday evening, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, blessed and consecrated sacred oils for sacramental use over the coming year in Catholic communities on U.S. Military sites worldwide, and in the nation’s VA Medical Centers. The rite of blessing took place at the annual Chrism Mass of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), which His Excellency celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Dozens of Catholic U.S. Military chaplains and priests in service to the Archdiocese concelebrated the 6:00 p.m. Mass and renewed their ministerial commitment following Archbishop Broglio’s homily.
Wearing his miter with crosier in hand, Archbishop Broglio preached from the presider’s chair in the Crypt Church, reminding brother priests that evangelization is fundamental to the priestly vocation they share. “The task is not easy,” he said, “and the numbers can be daunting. We must draw on the Spirit and the enthusiasm of our ordination days. We cannot rest until the message of eternal life has been announced to all men and women…. The oils to be used for the sacraments of initiation, the infirm, and ordination remind us also of our commitment to the People of God. Our faith is lived and communicated in sacramental encounters. The matter of the sacraments that is blessed and consecrated today reminds us, if there be need, of our commitment to service and to pouring the oil of gladness upon those who call upon us.”
Archbishop Broglio implored the priests to remember they were ordained to be “alter Christus,” or “another Christ,” in their service to the people of God.
“…. In a time of uncertainty and war we offer the assurance of our accompaniment and our readiness to assure ministry even in danger.
“We also pray for world peace and for understanding coupled with the cessation of hostilities in Ukraine. The unjust aggression there, the harm done to the innocent, and the brutality must not continue. May the Prince of Peace, capable of moving hearts, open the hearts of all to His presence and lead them to the fulfillment of His will.
“Emerging from the constraints of so many months of pandemic restrictions, we invite the people entrusted to our care to rediscover the Body and Blood of Christ, source of our healing and hope, the theme of the triennial strategic plan of the US Bishops’ Conference coupled with this time of Eucharistic revival. That will require our ingenuity, our ability to invite, and our enthusiasm.”
Following the renewal of priestly commitment, Archbishop Broglio raised hands over three silver-colored urns at the foot of the altar. His Excellency blessed the Oil of the Catachumens and the Oil of the Sick, and he mixed balsam with oil forming the “chrism” to be used at baptism, breathing over the mixture as part of the consecration rite.
Among priests and chaplains joining Archbishop Broglio at the altar were Auxiliary Bishops F. Richard Spencer, Neal J. Buckon, and Joseph L. Coffey. Also concelebrating were the AMS Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, Monsignor Jeffrey G. Laible; the AMS Judicial Vicar, Father Mark Rutherford, J.C.L.; AMS Chancellor Father Robert R. Cannon, J.C.L.; and the AMS Vocations Director, Father S. Matthew Gray.
The Reverend Mr. Peter St. George and the Rev. Mr. Liam O’Shea-Creal assisted at the altar. Other co-sponsored seminarians served the Mass. Serving as Deacons of the Oils were Deacon Joe Pak, the Rev. Mr. Thomas Skamai, C.O., and Deacon Thomas Wolfkill.
Watch video of the Mass.