WASHINGTON, D.C.— Sacred oils for sacramental and ecclesiastical use over the coming year on U.S. military sites the world over and in the nation’s VA Medical Centers were blessed and consecrated Tuesday evening at the annual Chrism Mass of the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS), USA. During the Mass, Catholic U.S. Military chaplains and other priests also renewed their ministerial commitment.
Wearing the miter and holding the pastoral staff, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., preached from the presider’s chair in the crypt of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Noting that one purpose of the Mass was to celebrate the priesthood, Archbishop Broglio said in part:
“The last years have not been easy for us. Our mistakes, indifference, and lack of transparency have been continually thrust into the spotlight. Recommitment to our priestly promises in this context is also a recommitment to protect the innocent, be they children, minors, or vulnerable adults. It is a recommitment to live the promise of celibacy in a transparent way and to denounce evil when it occurs.
“However to reduce this celebration to a simple welling in those questions would be to ignore the amazing ministry accomplished by the priests who serve the archdiocese. Their willingness to be where soldiers, sailors, marines, coast guardsmen, and airmen are, to counsel them, to bring them the sacraments, and to teach them the ways of faith must also be celebrated. Tonight we give thanks for what they have done and for what they will do.” Read the full text of Archbishop Broglio’s homily here.
Following the renewal of priestly commitment, His Excellency raised hands over three silver-colored urns brought to the foot of the altar. He blessed the Oil of Catachumens and the Oil of the the Infirm, and he mixed balsam with oil forming the Chrism, breathing over the mixture in the sign of the Cross as part of the consecration rite.
Dozens of priests and chaplains joined Auxiliary Bishops Richard B. Higgins, F. Richard Spencer, Neal J. Buckon, William (Bill) J. Muhm, and Joseph L. Coffey in concelebrating. They included the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, Monsignor John J.M. Foster, J.C.D.; the Chancellor, Father Robert R. Cannon; the Judicial Vicar, Father Christopher Armstrong, J.C.D.; and the Vocations Director, Father Aidan Logan, O.C.S.O.
Also concelebrating this year were two Bishops from Venezuela, who were in Washington for a visit. They included the Most Reverend Roberto Lückert León, Archbishop-emeritus of Coro, and the Most Reverend José Trinidad Fernandez Angulo, General Secretary of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference.
The Reverend Mr. Sean Koehr and Deacon Timothy Wolfkill assisted at the altar. Other co-sponsored seminarians served the Mass.