The Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Helena was celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Helena on March 19. Bishop George Leo Thomas presided at the Mass, during which the oil of the sick and the oil of catechumens were blessed and sacred chrism consecrated to be used in parishes throughout the diocese in the coming year. The Mass includes a renewal of commitment by all the baptized, religious and lay pastoral ministers, deacons and priests. The Mass is a celebration of Christ instituting the priesthood at the Last Supper and, symbolized as delegates receive the holy oils to take back to their parishes, it constitutes a fidelity to the mission of the bishop and the greater diocesan church.
Prior to Mass, a group of participants gathered at St. Mary Parish in Helena to hear lecturer, educator and this year’s Chrism Mass Homilist, Fr. Mark Francis, CSV who serves as president of the Chicago Theological Union. Widely respected for his work in liturgical studies, Fr. Francis has written numerous books and articles on liturgy, including Liturgy in a Culturally Diverse Community: A Guide Toward Understanding (Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commission: Washington, D.C., 2012) and Shape a Circle Ever Wider: Inculturating the Liturgy in the United States (Liturgy Training Publications, 2000).
Notably, and as this was Bishop Thomas’ final Chrism Mass as Bishop of the Diocese of Helena, Msgr. Kevin O’Neill, Rector of the Cathedral of St. Helena, gave heartfelt thanks to Bishop Thomas for his leadership, sacrifice and vision that he has provided to the faithful during his 14 years as Bishop.