Udupi : The blessings of Holy Oils, Annunciation of Lord and Priests’ Day was observed at Milagres Cathedral of Udupi Diocese on Thursday, March 25, 2021. Most Rev Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop of Udupi diocese concelebrated Solemn Eucharistic mass celebrations along with Very Rev Fr. Valerian Mendonca, Rector of Milagres Cathedral and Dean of Kallianpur Deanery, Very Rev Fr. Stany B. Lobo, Chancellor of Udupi Diocese, Very Rev Fr. Denis D’Sa, Dean of Shirva Deanery, Very Rev Fr. Stany Tauro, Dean of Kundapur Deanery, Very Rev Fr. Joswey Fernandes, Dean of Karkala Deanery, Very Rev Fr. Charles Menezes, Dean of Udupi Deanery and along with 70 diocesan and religious priests.
Prior to the start of the Eucharistic mass, a procession of priests led by Bishop proceeded towards the Cathedral from Milagres Tri-centenary hall. The blessing of three Holy Oils was held during the mass at Milagres Cathedral which has been usually held in diocesan Cathedral. The blessings of three kinds of Sacred Oils, all of which signify the work of the Holy Spirit and symbolize it in that oil serves to sweeten, to strengthen and to render supple.
During the mass, priests asked to stand and renew the promises made on their ordination time and witnessed the priests again pledged their lives and love to Jesus Our Lord.
In his beautiful homily by Bishop, he said that the priesthood is not just job but a vocation, a personal calling from God. It is more accurately described as a specific ministry of service in the church which is divinely mandated. The priest hood cannot be considered simply as a role performed or job that is to be carried out. It is calling or a vocation that goes to the very heart of who the person is. It is not something one simply chooses to do a career, rather it involves an invitation that one receives from the Lord. Through the Sacrament of Ordination priests receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit and are signed with a special character and are conformed to Christ the Priest in such a way that they can act in the person of Christ the Head.
The nature of the Catholic priesthood can only be understood in reference to Christ, for the priesthood is a derivation, a specific participation in and continuation of Christ Himself, the one High priest of the new and eternal Covenant. The priest is living and transparent image of Christ the priest. He carries out his ministry not in his own right, nor according simply to certain earthly authority. Though entrusted to very ordinary men, the saving work of Christ in the world continues to be enacted through them. Just as the Lord chose very human disciples to become apostles, so the Lord accepts men with natural limitations to be his instrument. The exercise of the priesthood is, in the end, in the realm of grace and not simply the product of the human capacity of the individual. The priest takes a special and unique position as a mediator between God and man. The priest’s mission is to be a mediator, a bridge that connects, and thereby to bring human beings to God to His redemption, to His true light, to His true life.
St Paul describes the role as being ministers of Christ and dispensers of the mysteries of God. The letter to the Hebrews says that priests are taken from among men yet appointed for men in the things that pertain to God. This has always been understood by the church as the unique role that priests play in the life and mission of the church. The church has taught that the priesthood was intended by Christ and the apostles were ordained at the Last Supper when Christ said do this in memory of me. Immediately after His Resurrection Christ bestowed on the apostles the power to forgive sins: whose sins you forgive they are forgiven. Christ entrusted sacral power to the priest.
Bishop Gerald blessed the three Holy Oils, the Holy Oil of the Sick, the Holy Oil of the Catechumens and the Holy Chrism Oil. The reception of the Holy Oils may take place at Mass of the Lord’s Super on Holy Thursday or any other day after the celebration of the Chrism Mass.
The Oil of Catechumens used in Baptism along with water, in the consecration of churches, in the blessing of Altars, in the ordination of priests and sometimes in the crowning of Catholic Kings or queens. The Holy Chrism or Oil of Gladness which is olive oil mixed with a small amount of balm or balsam. It is used in Confirmation, Baptism, in the consecration of a Bishop, the consecration of a various things such as churches, chalices, patens and bells. The Oil of the Sick is used in Unction. A service of great solemnity and beauty takes place in every cathedral each year which the bishop blesses the oils to be used during the ensuing year in the administration of the Sacraments as well as in various consecrations and blessings of persons and things. The ceremony of the Blessing the Oils is full of significant symbolism which requires a large number of clergy for the sacred oils are considered by the Church to be of such importance as to call for.
At the end, the rector of Cathedral, Very Rev Fr. Valerian Mendonca gave words of gratitude for the event of blessings of Holy Oils, Priests’ Day and Annunciation of Lord fest. He thanked the Bishop, diocesan priests, religious priests, nuns, laity, concerned commission members and all faithful for the successful observation of Eucharistic Mass. He thanked the sponsor of the Mass to Steevan and Prema Lewis of Tenkabettu (St Sebastian) ward who sponsored since installation of the diocese during the occasion of Chrism mass.
Bishop Gerald also thanked the Rector, Fr. Canute Noronha and all concerned for successfully organizing the Eucharistic Mass as well as morning and afternoon sessions for the diocesan priests. Rev Fr. Stephen D’Souza, Director of Liturgy Commission of the diocese compared the liturgical programme.
The record number of priests participated during the Eucharistic mass, moreover, may be due to corona pandemic the number of faithful persons were lower than previous years, especially laity faithful. At the end of the mass, cold drink was served to all participants of the mass which was donated by Steevan Prema Lewis, Tenkabettu.
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