Every year, there is a special Mass that happens during Holy Week, at which the Bishop blesses the oils that are needed for celebrating the sacraments throughout the diocese. The Chrism that he blessed was used at the Easter Vigil for the celebration of Confirmation for all those who became Catholic that evening. The new chrism will also be used at the priesthood ordinations in a few months at the Cathedral, at Confirmations throughout the diocese, and it will also be used at all baptisms, along with the Oil of Catechumens. The Oil of The Sick will be used to anoint people and provide them with the last rites.
As I emptied some of our oil stocks of last year’s oils, in order to fill them with this year’s, I noticed how well they have been used over the years. Oil was dried to the sides and I could easily notice that the outside of the metal containers had lost their original shine. But this is not a bad thing; in fact, quite the opposite! I wondered how many people have been baptized and confirmed over the decades with the oils that were held in these same containers and refilled every year. How many parishioners received the last rites over the decades from the oil that has been held in this same container and replenished annually?
Only the Lord knows what those numbers are. But doesn’t this tie into the devotion that has come to be celebrated so popularly today, the second Sunday of Easter (devotionally known as Divine Mercy Sunday)? Certainly, we celebrate the extreme generosity with which Jesus wants us to approach him in the sacrament of Reconciliation so that he can forgive our sins. But today’s devotion celebrates more than that. In fact, all of the sacraments are supreme acts of mercy toward us. This is because the sacraments are an actual encounter with Christ himself. All of the sacraments are an actual participation in Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, and are therefore ordered toward our salvation.
As such, I once again invite everyone to join us this afternoon (Sunday) for our parish celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday. All of the following will be happening at the Paulding church: exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will happen from 1:00 until about 3:30. During that time, our relic of St. Faustina will be available for veneration. However, because of COVID, we ask that veneration be done without actually touching the reliquary. I will also be hearing confessions during this time, until about 2:15. At 2:30, we will have sung vespers, followed by the singing of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, followed by benediction.
Blessings to you all!