Chrism Mass: A Virtual Sign of Unity – Holy Oils Blessed and Consecrated

The Chrism Mass, a Holy Week tradition when Holy Oils are blessed and consecrated and priests from across the Diocese stand united with the Bishop, took on a different form this year but the significance and meaning of what took place were not diminished.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, joined by priests representing each of the four Deaneries of the Diocese of Venice, celebrated the Chrism Mass on April 7, 2020, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. To accommodate the latest guidance on social distancing and limiting the size of gatherings, present on the altar were the Bishop, five priests and three permanent deacons.

“Nothing can stand in the way of the celebration of the Word of God,” Bishop Dewane said at the start of the Mass. “I am grateful that we have the opportunity for the priests and the lay faithful to tune in and witness this celebration. The oils that are blessed and consecrated during this Mass are not only for us priests to use when conveying the Sacraments, they are for you, the faithful.”

Held during Holy Week each year, the Chrism Mass would typically bring together the entire Presbyterate (all active priests in the Diocese) and would be witnessed by more than 1,000. Present for the Mass would be religious, deacons, student representatives from each of the 15 Diocesan Catholic schools, Knights of Columbus Color Corps and Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta as well as the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher.

While no one was able to be present in person as witnesses to the Mass, Bishop Dewane said the Word of God and the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ, together, unite us whether everyone is together in person or remotely.

The Chrism Mass marks a celebration and is an expression of unity of the priests with their Shepherd, the Bishop of the Diocese. By having all the priests of the Diocese come together – this year virtually – on the eve of the Easter Triduum, reminds priests of their calling to act in the person of Christ – In persona Christi.

During the Renewal of Priestly Promises the representative priests stood as one, and spoke with one voice saying, “I am,” three times in response to questions asked by Bishop Dewane. These same questions were asked of them during their Ordination to the Priesthood.

Bishop Dewane publicly thanked the priests for their continued service to the People of God throughout the Diocese of Venice for what they do each day, and in particular during the ongoing response to the pandemic. “I miss very much your presence here today… However, when we do gather, the Word of Lord is there… the words that have been said and heard today have great meaning for us.”

While addressing the priests directly, Bishop Dewane cited the readings of the day from the Prophet Isaiah, Book of Revelations, and the Gospel of Luke, which identify those who are called to be priests.

The first reading states that those who “shall be named priests of the Lord, ministers of God, you shall be called.” “The operative word being named,” Bishop Dewane said. “This is profoundly a part of our vocation. The idea of being named is also found in the Prophet Jerimiah 1:5 which states, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I dedicated you a prophet to the nations I appointed you.’”

From the second reading from the Book of Revelation, the idea of who has been made or created who has made us into a kingdom of priests. The operative word there is made – the idea of being created.

Finally, the Bishop continued, the Gospel of Luke, where the idea of you and I being sent has a special meaning, He has sent me – the operative word being sent.

Bishop Dewane said to the priests: “The idea of being made is something that is truly ongoing, a work in progress. The strength of Christ is given to you and it has made your identity as a priest. It makes you new in the Lord, over and over again.”

As part of being called to the priesthood, Bishop Dewane said the priests are sent to follow where the Lord leads them, and to go forth humbly, joyfully and prayerfully.

“You are sent by the Lord through every Eucharist you celebrate; sermon you preach, truth that you teach; child or adult you baptize; confession you hear; sinner you absolve; marriage you witness; dying person you prepare for their last journey – each one of you have been sent to continue on this priestly journey.”

In an appeal to the faithful, Bishop Dewane asked them to assist the priests, not just during this difficult time caused by the pandemic, but during all times and all difficulties. “We, as a body of priests, need to be uplifted.”

As noted at the beginning of his homily, Bishop Dewane concluded by reminding the priests that it is the Word of God that carries with intention, a meaning and a purpose for them and for the people of God entrusted to their care. “Know, as the faithful, they trust you, they need you, they love you, and so do I. May God bless you all.”

From Jerusalem to Rome, and to Dioceses around the world, Pope Francis and local Bishops carry out the annual Chrism Mass, which is celebrated during Holy Week, on or before Holy Thursday. In the Diocese of Venice, the Chrism Mass is traditionally celebrated on the Tuesday of Holy Week to accommodate the priests who need to travel great distances. This year was no different.

Sacred Chrism Oil

The holy oils which were blessed and consecrated April 7, 2020, during the Chrism Mass at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. Seen from left to right, the Oil of Sick, Sacred Chrism and the Oil of the Catechumens.

The Chrism Mass takes its name from the Sacred Chrism Oil, the most eminent of the holy oils, which the Bishop blesses and consecrates for use by Parish priests of the Diocese.

The Order of the Blessing of the oils and consecration of the Sacred Chrism takes place at different times during the Mass. Vested in white, Bishop Dewane, raised hands over the urns on a table near the altar and first blessed the Oil of the Sick at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer. Following the Prayer After Communion, the Bishop blessed the Oil of the Catechumens.

Before the final blessing, the final portion is the consecration of the Sacred Chrism Oil. First balsam is poured into the oil and then mixed. The balsam is added so that it gives the oil a sweet smell intended to remind those who encounter it of the “odor of sanctity.” All of the faithful are called to strive for sanctity. The Bishop then extended his hands toward the vessel containing the oils, and at one point asked the priests to raise their right arm in prayer, and said the prayer of consecration. The celebration is brought to a close with a final blessing.

The Oil of the Sick is used for those who seek anointing, and the Oil of the Catechumens, which is imposed on those preparing for baptism, are simply “blessed,” by the Bishop, while the Sacred Chrism is “consecrated.”

2020 Diocese of Venice priest jubilarians

The annual Chrism Mass is a time during Holy Week when the sacred oils used for the Sacraments throughout the year are blessed and consecrated and the priests of the Diocese of Venice gather united under one Bishop. The Mass is also an appropriate time to recognize priests who are celebrating significant milestones in their priesthood.

While the Chrism Mass was celebrated on Tuesday, April 7 of Holy Week in a modified form due to crowd restrictions brought on as a precaution against the pandemic – with Bishop Frank J. Dewane and representative priests from each of the four Deaneries in the Diocese – the five priest jubilarians were recognized, if not actually present.

The priests have 200 years of combined experience amongst them, with three marking their Golden Jubilee and two their Silver Jubilee.

While they were not present at the Chrism Mass, they must still be recognized for reaching such important milestones. The Golden Jubilarians are Msgr. Philip W. Hill, Msgr. Frank C. McGrath and Father James P. Meyers. The Silver Jubilarians are Father Marcial Y. Garcia and Father Antony T. Lukka. See their complete biographies below.

Golden Jubilees

Msgr. Frank C. McGrath

Msgr. Frank C. McGrath was born in 1944 in New Britain, Connecticut, and raised in Stratford. He attended St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and later St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland. Ordained for the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, on May 9, 1970, Msgr. McGrath served at the Cathedral for several years and at parishes in Ridgefield, Westport, Stratford and Darien. Msgr. McGrath also became the Diocesan Director of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and was assigned outside of the Diocese to serve in the Office of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal with residence in Brussels, Belgium. Msgr. McGrath then served at Word of God Convent Community and a Parish in Ann Arbor within the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, before returning to the Diocese of Bridgeport. There he served in two parishes and as Director of Clergy Personnel. Msgr. McGrath also served as a fire chaplain from 1990 through 2014 in Michigan, Connecticut and New York City. For the Diocese of Venice, since 2014 Msgr. McGrath has been serving as Chaplain of the Ave Maria School of Law in Naples.

Msgr. Philip W. Hill

Msgr. Philip W. Hill was born in 1945 in Grand Island, Nebraska, and earned degrees from Cathedral College in New York City, New York; St. Joseph Seminary, Yonkers, N.Y.; Gregorian University and Lateran University in Rome, and Fordham University School of Law, the Bronx, N.Y. Msgr. Hill was ordained Dec. 18, 1970 at St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. As a priest for the Archdiocese of New York, he served at parishes in Scarsdale and Poughkeepsie, as well as vice-official for the Metropolitan Tribunal. Msgr. Hill also served as a U.S. Army Chaplain working at the Pentagon Army Chief of Chaplains Office during the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, as well as at posts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. His most recent assignment in the Army was as Command Chaplain at Fort Belvoir in Virginia before retiring as a colonel. Msgr. Hill came to the Diocese of Venice in October 2019, first assisting at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch and since January 2020 assisting at Sacred Heart Parish in Punta Gorda.

Rev. James P. Meyers

Father James P. Meyers was born in 1944 in Omaha, Nebraska, and discerned his vocation to the priesthood while studying at Mt. Michael Abby, Elkhorn, Nebraska, and went on to study at Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri, and Theological College of Catholic University, Washington, D.C. Father Meyers was ordained on May 30, 1970 in Omaha for the Archdiocese of Washington. He served at parishes in Washington. D.C., as well as in Silver Springs, Bethesda, Leonardtown and Rockville in Maryland. For the Archdiocese he also served on the Priest Council and as Dean. In the Diocese of Venice, has assisted at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs.

Silver Jubilees

Rev. Marcial Y. Garcia

Father Marcial Y. Garcia was born in 1963, in Bani, Dominican Republic, the oldest of 12 children. He studied at St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Santo Domingo, and was ordained June 3, 1995, in Bani. He served at parishes in Santo Domingo and San Cristobal until 2001. Father Garcia joined the Diocese of Venice in 2001 first serving at St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston from 2001-2011, and then at Holy Cross Parish in Palmetto from 2011-2013. He was then priest-in-charge of Hispanic Ministry at St. Elizabeth Seton and St. Agnes Parishes in Naples in 2013, then at St. James and Santiago Mission in Lake Placid. He is the current Pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Moore Haven and St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Mission in Okeechobee.

 

Rev. Antony T. Lukka

Father Antony T. Lukka was born in 1965 in Kanjirapally, Kerala, India, the eighth of nine children. Father earned degrees from Gandhi University in Kerala, and discerned a vocation to the priesthood at Papal Seminary in Pune, India. He was ordained May 30, 1995 for the Diocese of Kanjirapally, and served at parishes in Koruthode, Anakkal, Karikkattoor and Enamely, and also as assistant principal then principal at a junior college in Anakkal. He came to the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, in 2001 serving at parishes in Assinis, Cooks and Merenisco, Michigan, as well as assisting in prisons, nursing homes and hospitals. For the Diocese of Marquette, he served as a member of the Presbyteral Council and College of Consultors. Father Lukka came to the Diocese of Venice in 2016 and is a Parochial Vicar at St, William Parish in Naples.

Chrism Mass: A Sign of Unity

By Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

The Communion of the priests of the Diocese of Venice was represented in all its unity during the annual Chrism Mass which was held on April 16 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

More than 120 priests gathered for this Holy Week tradition where the priests renew their priestly promises which they made at the time of their ordination. This celebration, which was witnessed by more than 1,200 of the faithful, including students from the Diocesan Catholic Schools, marks the institution of the priesthood by Christ and is an expression of unity of the priests with their Shepherd, the Bishop of the Diocese.

During the Chrism Mass, Bishop Frank J. Dewane also blessed and consecrated Holy Oils to be used in Parishes across the Diocese of Venice for the sacramental life of the Church throughout the coming year.

The Chrism Mass not only brings into focus the historical context of the priesthood but is also an opportunity for the priests to see the Church of the Diocese beyond their own Parishes and celebrates the distinctiveness of the priesthood. Having all the priests of the Diocese come together at the Chrism Mass, on the eve of the Easter Triduum, reminds priests of their calling to act in the person of Christ – In persona Christi. This is one of the few times that so many priests are gathered together for the Mass.

During the Renewal of Priestly Promises the gathered priests stood as one, and spoke with one voice saying, “I am,” three times in response to questions asked by Bishop Dewane. These same questions were asked of them during their Ordination to the Priesthood.

Bishop Dewane publicly thanked the priests for their continued service to the People of God throughout the Diocese of Venice for what they do each day. The call to service that priests respond to is a call to rise above the ways of the world – not that they are above anybody, but it is about serving with passion born from Christ, for the Lord and His people, and to bring them together.

In a world of increasing secularism, the is a greater need for this service than ever before, the Bishop acknowledged. While some may lose focus in this purpose, the service must always be redirected, a service toward others and living out their call to serve.

“The questions you must ask yourself are: Who can I serve? What can I do to serve? How best can I serve?” Bishop Dewane continued. “The mission of priest is about Jesus Christ; it is about His Church; it is about the People of God; and it is about living out our call in service to all.”

The two priests and two deacons serving or living in the Diocese celebrating the 25th and 50th anniversaries or their ordination were individually recognized by the Bishop for their years of service to Holy Mother Church.

While the Oil of the Sick and Oil of the Catechumens are blessed, the Sacred Chrism is consecrated; and each will be used at Parishes throughout the year in the administration of the Sacraments.

From Jerusalem to Rome, and to Dioceses around the world, Pope Francis and local Bishops carry out the annual Chrism Mass, which is celebrated on or before Holy Thursday. In the Diocese of Venice, the Chrism Mass is celebrated on the Tuesday of Holy Week to accommodate the priests who need to travel great distances.

In attendance for this special occasion were religious men and women; seminarians; the Color Corps of the Knights of Columbus; the Knights and Ladies of the Order of Malta; the Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem; approximately 300 students representing most of the Diocesan Catholic Schools; as well as the faithful of the Diocese of Venice.

Sacred Chrism Oil

The Chrism Mass takes its name from the Sacred Chrism Oil, the most eminent of the three holy oils which the Bishop consecrates for use by parishes of the Diocese. Bishop Dewane described the oils as “Oils of Gladness” which represent the indelible mark each bestows.

The blessing of the oils take place at different times during the Chrism Mass. Vested in white, Bishop Dewane, raised hands over the urns on a table near the altar and first blessed the Oil of the Sick at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer. Following the Prayer After Communion, the Bishop blessed the Oil of the Catechumens.

Next, the final portion of the Rite is the consecration of the Sacred Chrism Oil. First balsam is poured into the oil and then mixed. The balsam is added so that it gives the oil a sweet smell intended to remind those who encounter it of the “odor of sanctity.” All of the faithful are called to strive for sanctity. The Bishop then breathes on the Sacred Chrism “to symbolize the Holy Spirit coming down.” The Bishop then extended his hands toward the vessel containing the oils and said the prayer of consecration. The Rite is brought to closure with a concluding prayer.

The Oil of the Sick is used for those who seek anointing, and the Oil of the Catechumens, which is imposed on those preparing for baptism, are simply “blessed,” by the Bishop. the Sacred Chrism is “consecrated.”

After Mass, the thee oils were divided up and given to each pastor to use in the Parish.

The newly blessed and consecrated Holy Oils from the Chrism Mass were first used for the Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation during the Easter Vigil Liturgy on Holy Saturday. At that time, 268 catechumens and candidates entered fully into the Catholic Church at Parishes throughout the Diocese and receive one or all the following Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist – which some received for the first time.

Jubilarians

A reception was held in the Parish Hall following the Mass to honor Priests and Deacons celebrating their jubilee in 2018.

Carmelite Father Frederick J. Tillotson, Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Osprey, spoke for the jubilarians and noted what a privilege it has been to serve in the Diocese of Venice at a parish after more than 40 years in education. Father Tillotson said he sought work in a parish and was very fortunate to have been called to serve in the Order of Carmelites in a variety of ways throughout his 50 years as a priest.

Also celebrating 50 years of the priesthood was Msgr. Rollin J. Darbouze who assists at St. Maximilian Parish in Port Charlotte and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice.

The two deacons were recognized for 25 years of service were Deacon John J. Mulvey who serves seasonally at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral and St. Therese Parish in North Fort Myers; and Deacon Armand R. Ragosta who serves seasonally at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Grove City and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice.

2019 Jubilarians

Staff Report

2019 Diocese of Venice Jubilarians recognized during the Chrism Mass, April 16 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

50 years

Monsignor Rollin J. Darbouze

Born June 24, 1938, in Port-Salut, Haiti, the fifth of nine children of Hiram Francois Darbouze and Patiana Vante, Msgr. Rollin J. Darbouze was a sickly child who did not begin attending school until age 11. He studied as a seminarian at St. Jean l’Evangeliste in Camp-Perrin and later Notre Dame Seminary in Port-au-Prince where his education was put on hold when the seminary was closed by François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, the Hatian Dictator. He resumed his discernment to the priesthood at St. Joseph Seminary in Memramcook, New Brunswick, Canada. He was ordained June 28, 1969 in Quebec, Canada. Fluent in Creole, Spanish and English, Msgr. Darbouze first served at a parish in the Diocese of Nicolette in Quebec but was soon asked to serve the growing Haitian community in the Diocese of Brooklyn. For Brooklyn, he served in several different parishes in Brooklyn and Queens as well as in the Archdiocese of New York. He retired in 2010 and moved to Florida. For the Diocese of Venice, Msgr. Darbouze assists at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Port Charlotte and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice.

Father Frederick J. Tillotson, O. Carm.

Carmelite Father Frederick J. Tillotson was born Oct. 4, 1942 in Pekin, Ill., the oldest of four children of Kenneth Foster Tillotson and Mary S. Cappel-Tillotson. He grew up in Puerto Rico and Sumatra, Indonesia, and attended high school at Aquinas College in Perth, Australia. He received his undergraduate degree from the Carmelite seminary and St. Bonaventure College (University) in Allegany, N.Y. Father Tillotson also holds degrees from the Gregorian University, Rome, Italy, and the University of San Francisco. He also pursued graduate studies at Oxford University in England, University College in Dublin, Ireland, and the University of London. He was ordained to the priesthood in Joliet, Ill., on Aug. 23, 1969. He has taught and held adminis­trative posts in several institu­tions including Director and instructor for The Kino Institute (the Academy of Religious Studies for Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, an affiliate school of the University of San Francisco); president of Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, Calif.; Head of School/CEO for Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson Ariz.; administrator of St. Cyril of Jerusalem Parish, Tucson; and as president of the Washington Theological Union in Washington D.C.; Director for Clinical Ethics for the Franciscan Health System of Philadelphia; member of the Institutional Review Board of the University of Arizona for Human Subject Research; member of the Bishops Committee on Sexual Misconduct; chaplain to the Tucson Notre Dame Alumni Association; member and chaplain to the Equestrian Order of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher with the rank of Knight Commander. While with the Diocese of Phoenix, he served on numerous diocesan councils and committees. He has held Carmelite provincial positions as coordinator of school ministry and member of the provincial council, as well as for the Carmelite General Curia in Rome. For the Diocese of Venice, Father Tillotson has served as Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish for nearly eight years.

25 years

Deacon John J. Mulvey

Deacon John J. Mulvey was born Nov. 27, 1931 in Syracuse, N.Y., to John J. and Mary O’Hara Mulvey. He was veteran of the U.S. Air Force, having served for 30 years before retiring in 1982 and later worked as a glazier at Syracuse University. He studied at Le Moyne Jesuit College in Syracuse and was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on May 14, 1994 in the Diocese of Syracuse. Deacon Mulvey served at the two parishes in the Diocese of Syracuse. For the Diocese of Venice, he serves at St. Katherine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral and St. Therese Parish in North Fort Myers. He is married to Patricia (Wood) and they have four children and five grandchildren.

 

 

 

Deacon Armand R. Ragosta

Deacon Armand R. Ragosta was born May 23, 1946 in Providence, R.I.to Armando and Etta Zompa Ragosta. He has a graduate degree from of Providence College in education and religious studies and has an undergraduate degree from the Boston Conservatory of Music. He retired in 2002 after 33 years as a music teacher for the Cranston (R.I.) School Department. He ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on Oct. 15, 1994 in the Diocese of Providence. There he served in three different parishes. Deacon Ragosta winters in Englewood and since 2015 for the Diocese of Venice he serves at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Grove City and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice. He was married to his wife Ann Fiedorowicz for 48 years before her passing in 2017. They have two children.

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