Bishop Joseph C. Bambera celebrates the Blessing of the Oils and the Consecration of the Chrism.

 Bishop Bambera expresses gratitude during Chrism Mass

SCRANTON – Referencing Psalm 133, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera began his homily during this year’s Chrism Mass by saying how wonderful it was to have all of the priests from across the 11 counties of the Diocese of Scranton together in one place.

“It is so very good to be with all of you,” Bishop Bambera said. “Thank you for your selfless, creative and faithful ministry to this local Church.”

The Chrism Mass, held on Tuesday, March 30, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, was the first time that priests have been able to all come together in more than a year – since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have all been wounded and broken during this past year. If we’re honest, we must admit that we’ve been confronted like never before in our lives,” the bishop added.

Priests from the Diocese of Scranton celebrate the Chrism Mass on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton. This is the first time that they have all been able to come together since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photos/Mike Melisky)

Over the last year, many people, priests included, have faced loneliness, fear and uncertainty. They have worried not only about their own health and their family but also for the safety of the faithful people that they care for.

“It is in the honest embrace of our wounds that we will come to understand something about ourselves, our faith, our priesthood and our God,” Bishop Bambera explained. “Today, as we start to see glimmers of light in our world, I trust that we’re also beginning to recognize the hope promised by Jesus.”

During his homily, the bishop told his brother priests that they have brought more to this past year than they might give themselves credit for.

“First of all brothers, we bring what we have been given. We bring what the Church has entrusted to us. Through the priesthood we have received, we bring the mysteries of God through the Holy Eucharist and the Sacramental Life of the Church. In these gifts, Christ himself heals and teaches,” the bishop said.

Drawing upon the words of Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti, the bishop said, “No one is saved alone.”

“Thank you for your ministry, thank you for your service so generously given in the face of so many obstacles,” the bishop added.

Rev. Glenn E. McCreary, V.E., forefront, and priests from the Diocese participate in the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton on March 30, 2021.

During the Chrism Mass, the holy oils used throughout the year in the Diocese of Scranton for baptisms, confirmations, ordinations and other milestone events were blessed by Bishop Bambera.

The Chrism Mass has special significance for the clergy. During the Mass, the priests renewed the promises they made at their ordinations. In addition, the priests renew their promise of obedience to the bishop.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s Chrism Mass was limited to priests to adhere to physical distancing guidelines. Members of the public participated by a live broadcast on CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton and livestreaming on the Diocese of Scranton’s YouTube channel and social media platforms.