A group of freshmen from Sacred Heart High School in Sedalia traveled to the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Jefferson City to serve in important roles in year’s Mass of the Holy Chrism.
Some were altar servers — carrying candles, incense, the book of prayers and the bishop’s pastoral staff. Two proclaimed readings from Scripture. Others presented baskets filled with vials of oil as part of a large procession.
None had ever attended the Chrism Mass before.
All were impressed.
“It was cool how many priests and deacons were there,” said Jude Jenkins, who was an altar server.
Kelsey Hudson was impressed with the level of organization and preparation that goes into a Mass of such magnitude.
“And the amount of priests there,” she said. “That was pretty cool. I didn’t realize that there were that many.”
Jude is a server at Sacred Heart parish, as is Eddie Withers, who also served at the Chrism Mass.
“It was a great experience to serve with the bishop,” said Jude. “It’s not something everyone can say they’ve done.”
Caten Lucchesi proclaimed the first reading, the “Spirit of the Lord is upon Me” passage from Isaiah (Chapter 63).
“It was scary to go up there in front of everyone,” said Caten. “But I think it was a really good experience.”
After Bishop W. Shawn McKnight blessed the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick and consecrated the Sacred Chrism, Sacred Heart students helped carry the oil downstairs to the Undercroft, where it was quickly sorted and placed in boxes for the priests to take back to their parishes.
“It was quite a complicated operation they had going down there,” said Amelia Schott.
After Mass, Bishop McKnight greeted each in the group, gave them prayer cards from his ordination and posed with them for a group photo.
Eddie said he’d like to go back to the cathedral for future Chrism Masses.
“Yes! Definitely!” he said.
Sacred Heart teacher Timara Kennon believes it was a grace-filled experience for the students she accompanied to the cathedral.
“They did a great job and we are extremely proud of them,” she said.
Precious Blood Father Mark Miller, pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Patrick parishes in Sedalia and St. John the Evangelist parish in Bahner, said participating in the Chrism Mass was an educational experience for the students as well as a spiritual encounter.
“Not everyone understands that we are part of a larger Church than just our own community and it is good for them to see the Church on a diocesan level,” he said.
Fr. Miller noted that although it may have seemed that half the people assembled in the cathedral were priests and deacons, “when we are spread across the many parishes and missions, the presence of priests and deacons don’t appear so plentiful.”
“Hopefully, one or two of them also thought to themselves during the Chrism Mass, ‘I could do this in the future. I could be among the next generation of priests and deacons,’” said Fr. Miller.