Archbishop Miller recognizes the work of deacons, seminarians, and religious
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
The first few rows of Holy Rosary Cathedral were a sea of white April 4, as Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, was joined by priests from around the Archdiocese of Vancouver, seminarians, deacons, religious, and the faithful for the Chrism Mass.
"This evening we are celebrating one of the Church's most moving and significant Liturgies," said Archbishop Miller in his homily. "This is the Church of Jesus Christ in the Archdiocese of Vancouver."
The archbishop thanked the priests for their tireless hard work. He also congratulated priests celebrating their jubilees for "serving selflessly and faithfully."
"We are all pleased to congratulate these men for conforming their lives closely to Christ. They offer us a shining witness of faith and love, and give their lives for the salvation of their brothers and sisters."
He greeted the seminarians and said he looked forward to seeing them serving at the altar. Archbishop Miller quoted Pope Benedict XVI in reminding the seminarians that the "core of the priesthood is being friends with Jesus Christ."
The archbishop also prayed for more priests to serve. "We must all call forth vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. That is the task of each of us in this cathedral: every priest, every consecrated person, and every lay man and lay woman."
Archbishop Miller explained the significance of the Chrism Mass. He said in the Old Testament kings and priests were anointed with oil as a sign of dignity, responsibility, and strength that comes from God. He said priests of the new covenant empty themselves of worldly bonds in imitation of Christ.
"Through ordination a priest is taken into God's service (to be made) present: not himself but Christ, Who empowers him to act in His very person. Priests bring the world to God, to open it up to Him in all its tragedy and magnificence."
However, while the archbishop spoke proudly of his admiration for priests, he didn't shy away from mentioning the hard work the vocation brings.
"Dear brothers, at times we all experience that the demands of our vocation can seem overwhelming. There are always more and more demands, more instructions from 150 Robson (the chancery office), new programs to be implemented, more appeals on time and treasure."
He said that the Chrism Mass was a time for priests to rededicate themselves to the challenges ahead.
"These are very challenging times for the Church, and so they will remain. Business as usual is not enough if we are to fulfill the mission entrusted to us at ordination. We have to go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, give our tunic along with the cloak."
After the homily priests renewed their commitment to the archbishop. The archbishop also asked the faithful in attendance to pray for him and priests to carry out their vocations.
Archbishop Miller then blessed the holy oils presented by Deacons Paul Simms and Pablo Santa Maria Watson, and Frater Leo Micah Barker. The oils will be used during the sacrament of baptism and to anoint the sick.