Share this story


Bishop Gruss encourages priests at Chrism Mass: Be God's living oil through selfless giving

On Tuesday, March 26, priests, parish leaders and representatives from each parish community across the Diocese of Saginaw joined Bishop Robert Gruss for the annual Chrism Mass. 

During the Chrism Mass, Bishop Gruss blessed Sacred Chrism, the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick. These holy oils are used for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick, as well as the Dedication of Churches and Consecration of Altars.

The oils were then distributed to representatives of each of our 56 parish communities for use within the diocese.

"Jesus Himself is at work offering sacramental grace to each individual, transforming us for a greater capacity for holiness and faithful discipleship," Bishop Gruss said in his homily. "Yes, 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us, because he has anointed us…'  We pray that the Spirit given on the day we were anointed will come alive in us so that, each in our own particular way, according to our own personal vocation and state in the Body of Christ, this scripture passage will be fulfilled through our life of discipleship."

The priests of the Diocese concelebrated the Mass with Bishop Gruss and made a renewal of their priestly promises.

During his homily, Bishop Gruss addressed his brother priests first by thanking them for their ministry.

"Brothers, the Father anointed our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have been anointed in that same Spirit to sanctify the people entrusted to our care and to offer Christ’s sacrifice to God. 

Living oil and Jesus as model of total self-giving

Bishop Gruss then quoted Pope Francis, who said to priests gathered for the Chrism Mass at the Vatican:  

"We are not distributors of bottled oil. We anoint by distributing ourselves, distributing our vocation and our heart."

“We anoint by dirtying our hands in touching the wounds, the sins, and the worries of the people. We anoint by perfuming our hands in touching their faith, their hopes, their fidelity, and the unconditional generosity of their self-giving.”  

"In other words, we anoint by giving our lives away. We do so by being 'living oil' for the people entrusted to our care. Brothers, be that 'living oil,'" said Bishop Gruss.  "We become that 'living oil' when we 'give and not count the cost.'  Jesus 'emptied himself' – he is our model. How difficult and challenging this is sometimes, at least for me.

"Total self-giving. How often do you and I want to hold back!  How often do we hold back?  Brothers, let us be that 'living oil.'

"This is why we must live daily at the cross and at the altar of sacrifice, the place of the greatest source of priestly grace. The effectiveness of our day, the value of our ministry comes entirely from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ made present on this altar," Bishop Gruss said. 

Relationship and prayers

Bishop Gruss again quoted Pope Francis:  "A priest who is a peaceful man will know how to spread serenity around him, even in the most trying of moments, conveying the beauty of his relationship with the Lord.”

"The strength of a priest depends on his relationship with Christ and the daily seeking of that relationship," Bishop Gruss said. "Never stop seeking Jesus."

Bishop Gruss concluded his message to his brother priests by assuring them of his ongoing prayers for them and the people they serve.

In addition to priests, those gathered included deacons, seminarians, religious sisters, directors of parish life, lay ministers and parishioners.

"Many thanks to all of you who minister in the Church, both present here and across the Diocese; thank you for your sacrifices and your ministry," said Bishop Gruss.  Be assured of my prayers and my love for each of you as well."

Bishop Gruss continued, asking the faithful pray for the clergy and for vocations.

"Be close to your priests with affection and most especially with your prayers, that they may be always be shepherds in the heart of Jesus. And please pray for those whom God is calling to be priests, that they may respond with courage and generosity," he said. "Lastly, don’t forget to pray for me! I need it most of all!"


View photos from the Chrism Mass.