By KATIE BORKOWSKI
The priests of the Diocese of Sioux City gathered at the Chrism Mass to renew their priestly commitments.
The special Mass was held April 6 at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City. Bishop Walker Nickless celebrated the Mass with principal concelebrants being Father Brad Pelzel, vicar general and the vicars foraine and the concelebrants being other priests of the diocese. Father Brent Lingle, director of worship and rector of the Cathedral, was the master of ceremonies.
The Deacon of the Word was Deacon Rich Kallsen and the Deacon of the Eucharist was Deacon David Lopez. The other permanent deacons were also present in the church.
“My brothers and sisters, we gather on this day in the holy season of Lent to celebrate the goodness the Lord the Lord has shown to us,” said Bishop Nickless. “Today I will consecrate the Sacred Oil of Chrism and bless the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of Catechumens. For those of us called to the presbyteral orders, we also gather today to renew our commitment to faithfully serve as Christ taught us.”
One of the reasons to gather as priests with the deacons, religious and laity, Bishop Nickless said, was so “they will pray for us that our faith may be strengthened, so we intern can strengthen their faith.”
“Today is a special day for all of us who share the sacrament of holy orders as priests,” said the bishop. “At the same time, we are so grateful for those who have gathered here with us. You have come to assist us with your prayer.”
Looking to the priests, Bishop Nickless talked about the questions he would ask them during the Mass while renewing their vows as priests.
“My brothers, as we begin to implement the changes called for in our pastoral plan of 2025, these questions take on a special meaning,” he said. “Change is never easy. It’s vitally important that we remain united with Christ. He must be the center of all we are. He must be the reason and the unifier of all that we do. He must be our source of strength and inspiration.”
The bishop acknowledged it will be important for the priests to be “sources of unity and examples of holiness for our people.”
“I depend on you, my brothers, to lead and guide them, to show them the way, to explain the reasons and not to be afraid to put them into practice,” said Bishop Nickless. “I call on you to be men of faith. Everything we do must be done for the sake of Christ. This will demand patience, prayer and especially the strength we receive from the Eucharist.”
He thanked the priests for working on their priestly promises like all the other priests throughout the world.
“Together we set about the work of the Lord here in the Diocese of Sioux City,” said the bishop. “Our desire is to build up the community, to bring our brothers and sisters closer and closer to Christ. The oils we take back with us today are a beautiful symbol of what we are all about in celebrating the sacraments.”
Renewal of commitment
At the conclusion of the homily, the priests were all invited to stand and were asked to renew, “in the presence of your bishop and God’s holy people,” the promises they made on the day or their ordination.
Bishop Nickless then addressed the congregation and asked them to pray for the priests “that the Lord may pour out his gifts abundantly upon them and keep them faithful as ministers in Christ, the high priest, so that they may lead you to him, who is the source of salvation.”
“And pray also for me, that I may be faithful to the apostolic office entrusted to me in my lowliness and that in your midst I may be made day by day a living and more perfect image of Christ, the priest, the good shepherd, the teacher and servant to all,” he added.
During the presentation of the holy oils and gifts, the Oil of Chrism was presented to the bishop by Deacon Bruce Chartier. The balsam was brought forward by Nick McGowan, candidate for confirmation at Blessed Sacrament Church in Sioux City. Sister Sherin Vattamattathil, OSS, who works at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, presented the Oil of the Sick.
The Oil of the Sick was blessed during the Eucharistic Prayer. Before the conclusion of Mass, the Oil of Catechumens was blessed and the Oil of Chrism was consecrated. (See adjacent story for more about the sacred oils.)