Cardinal Wuerl Celebrates Founding of Priesthood, Blesses Oils to Be Used in Sacraments

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, yesterday celebrated a special Mass to commemorate the founding of the priesthood by Christ with hundreds of priests from throughout the Archdiocese of Washington.

During the annual Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, the special oils used by all parishes in the archdiocese to administer the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick during the upcoming year were blessed and consecrated. The priests also renewed the promises made at their ordination of their commitment to Christ, to his Church and to priestly ministry during the Mass.

“Jesus was the Word and spoke the words of everlasting life.  Each priest is a faithful disciple of the Word now made manifest in the scriptures and the teaching of the Church,” said Cardinal Wuerl during his homily. “We need always to be so gratefully aware of the gift we have received. We participate in the mystery of God’s self-revelation in his Word. As Saint Paul tells us however it is not ourselves we reveal, we preach but Jesus Christ.”

“Jesus offered himself on the Cross for our salvation. So each priest is the faithful minister of that mystery made present for us today in the Eucharist. You and I are both profoundly aware and deeply moved by what we celebrate,” Cardinal Wuerl continued.

“If we want signs of that energizing presence we need look no further than your parishes and special ministries where you commemorate and celebrate the mysteries of our redemption,” Cardinal Wuerl told the priests. “The large number of people who are present are there in no small part because of the faithfulness of your ministry and the dedication of your priesthood. We see signs of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the over 1,300 new members of the Church either receiving the sacraments of initiation or completing their journey to full communion this Easter.”

In conclusion, Cardinal Wuerl asked the priests to see in themselves signs of the new Pentecost. “We will recommit ourselves to the joy of our lives – our priesthood, our priestly ministry, our priestly solidarity, to our own unique participation in the Body of Christ – and to the Archdiocese of Washington,” he told them. “This year we celebrate our 75th anniversary and do so mindful that with joy and commitment, dedication and recognition of past achievements we can stand strong, confident and firm in our faith as we look to the future. As we stand on the foundation of our past, we look to the future.”

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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