More than 160 priests, 16 deacons and six servers walk in procession to the altar for the annual Chrism Mass on April 19 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Hartford. Archbishop Henry J. Mansell was the principal celebrant, and the principal concelebrants were Archbishop Emeritus Daniel A. Cronin, Auxiliary Bishop Christie A. Macaluso and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Peter A. Rosazza. Father Jeffrey V. Romans was master of ceremonies. The Chrism Mass manifests the fullness of the bishop's priesthood and signifies the close unity of the priests with him. During the liturgy, the sacred oils that are used in sacraments are consecrated. See photo gallery by Jack Sheedy by clicking here.
HARTFORD – Archbishop Henry J. Mansell used the occasion of the annual Chrism Mass on April 19 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph to tell more than 500 seventh- and eighth-graders to "be nice to people" and to reject bullying.
Holding up an image of newly canonized Saint André Bessette – who spent his early years laboring in Hartford and eastern Connecticut – Archbishop Mansell said, "Even though he suffered, that he could do so much, that he was nice to people, that made such a difference."
He said that bullying takes many forms, but essentially it is simply "not being nice to other people." He referred to the Holy Chrism that he consecrated at the Mass, which is to be used in the ordination of men who are called to be priests. "But we are all called," he said. "Sometimes we have to stand up and recognize that when someone is being bullied, that is not being nice to people. We can’t allow that to happen."
Students from archdiocesan schools are traditionally invited to attend the Chrism Mass – celebrated each year during Holy Week – to witness an event intended to symbolize the unity of the local Church. The Archbishop noted that many schools were on vacation during Holy Week, "but here you are."
Pat McKenney, an eighth-grade teacher who accompanied 28 of her students from St. Rita School in Hamden, said, "Even though they have to sit here for the hour ahead of time and for the long Mass, they all come back with very positive feelings about the Mass. It’s been very inspirational to see them enjoy the ceremony."
Archbishop Mansell blessed two types of oils – the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens – and consecrated the Holy Chrism. The Oil of the Sick is used by priests to administer the sacrament of anointing the sick. The Oil of the Catechumens is used to give a person wisdom and strength before receiving the sacrament of baptism.
A team of volunteers from the archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women later transferred the oils into smaller vials for distribution to each parish.
Among the many archdiocesan and order priests who concelebrated were more than 30 priests who this year are celebrating 25, 50, 55, 60 and more years in the priesthood. The Chrism Mass manifests the communion of priests with their bishop in the same priesthood and ministry of Christ.