Holy week marks highlight of Christian calendar

Bishop John Noonan smells the aroma of the sacred Chrism before consecrating it. (GLENDA MEEKINS)

A hallmark of the Lenten season, Bishop John Noonan celebrated the Chrism Mass March 28 at St. James Cathedral in Orlando. As is custom, he blessed the oil used during the Anointing of the Sick, the oil of catechumens used during the Sacrament of Baptism, and consecrated the sacred Chrism also used in Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination.

Pastors from parishes and missions throughout the diocese came for the annual celebration returning home with oil to use in these sacraments the following year and presenting them to their parishes on Holy Thursday. Old oils were burned in the Easter fire on Holy Saturday and the new ones used beginning with Easter Vigil and the celebration of Baptism and Confirmation.

Jubilarian priests celebrating 25 and 50 years of Ordination were honored. Bishop Noonan recalled the fruit of their love of Christ and how they have lived out their vocation in the diocese and elsewhere. In this Year of the Eucharist which means “an action of thanksgiving”, on the Diocese of Orlando’s 50th anniversary, he thanked Fathers Peter and Paul Henry and Father Richard Walsh, founding priests of the diocese who came together from Ireland.

In the spirit of Ignatian spirituality and contemplation, the bishop spoke of seeing with the light of Christ, hearing His Word, smelling the Chrism oil, tasting the joy that dwells within us and touching the flesh of Christ—the five spiritual senses that enable the priesthood, and the faithful, to “savor” life in Christ.

Recalling the Passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord, the Easter Triduum was also celebrated at the Cathedral. The Triduum is the “summit” of the liturgical year, moving Christians through the Paschal Mystery. Beginning with the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday, Bishop Noonan retraced the steps of Christ at the Last Supper, teaching the apostles that He came to serve and that this is also the mission of the Church. He washed the feet of several parishioners young and old, as well as the feet of the priests that serve at St. James.

On Good Friday, the faithful remembered the Lord’s Passion with the Veneration of the Cross. At the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord, joyful songs of praise and glory rang through the Cathedral as believers proclaimed the Easter acclamation, “He has risen. He has risen indeed.”

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic – April 2, 2018