In a poignant and wide-ranging homily at the Chrism Mass March 30, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz recalled anointing Father Bryan Lamberson with the oil of the sick just three days before he died on March 17.
He visited with Father Lamberson, he said, after celebrating the Funeral Mass of another priest, Resurrectionist Father John Lesousky.
Both men, he said, had pastoral hearts.
“They aspired to follow Jesus Christ as you and I aspire to follow Jesus Christ,” he said. “You and I need that example.”
Archbishop Kurtz addressed a congregation at the Cathedral of the Assumption that was partially filled by the presbyterate — about 70 priests serving in the Archdiocese of Louisville — as well as dozens of deacons and other representatives of parishes around the archdiocese seated in every other row. The evening celebration was also live streamed on the Cathedral’s YouTube Channel.
Each year during this special liturgy, the archbishop blesses the oil of the sick and the oil of catechumens and consecrates the sacred Chrism. A portion of each oil is distributed to the archdiocese’s 110 parishes.
The oil of the sick is for the anointing of the sick. The oil of the catechumens is used in infant baptisms and the sacraments of initiation of adults.
The sacred Chrism is used for baptism, confirmation, Holy Orders and the dedication of altars and churches.
During the liturgy each year, the priests in attendance also renew their priestly promises.
Archbishop Kurtz told the priests during his homily, “You and I are here to be prepared for holiness and service, to be prepared for another year in which the people of God, who are called to become holy and renew the face of the earth, are asking you to assist them.”
“And so your renewal of your priestly promises are not simply for yourself, they are for the good of Christ and for the people you have served and will serve,” he said.
He told all of his listeners that he “can’t wait for Easter.”
“I can’t wait for the opportunity for all of you who are here present and who are joining us live streaming to recall, rekindle and renew your baptismal promises — the baptismal promises in which you are so grateful to be joined to the person of Jesus Christ our redeemer.”