During the annual Chrism Mass at The Cathedral of St. Joseph April 4, Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne acknowledged five priests of the Diocese who are celebrating their golden jubilees this year.

Sitting in the front pew wearing white vestments were Fathers Leo Bilodeau, Francis Connors, John Feltz, Thomas Mattison and Maurice Roy. All were ordained 50 years ago.

Also present were dozens of other priests serving in the Diocese.

During the liturgy, the priests of the Diocese stood before the bishop and renewed the promises they made at their ordination. They resolved to be “faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist” and “discharge the sacred office of teaching … not seeking any gain, but moved only by zeal for souls.”

The bishop asked all those who filled the cathedral — including Catholic school students —to pray for the priests and to pray for him so that he “may be made day by day a living and more perfect image of Christ, the Priest, the Good Shepherd, the Teacher, and the Servant of all.”

During his homily, the bishop quoted St. Ambrose of Milan, saying about priests: God “made them the vicars of His love.”

He said he was encouraged by the golden jubilarians’ faithfulness to the priesthood, and he expressed gratitude to all the priests in attendance — who have been ordained for less than a year to more than 50.

They make it possible for the Eucharist to be celebrated throughout the Diocese, and “as Catholics we are privileged to celebrate the Eucharist and receive it in Holy Communion,” Bishop Coyne said.

During Chrism Mass, the bishop blessed the sacred oils — Oil of the Sick, Oil of the Catechumens and the Sacred Chrism — as well as the perfume that is mixed into the Sacred Chrism to give it its rich aroma. These were presented by deacons serving in the Diocese.

The Oil of the Sick is blessed for the healing of body, mind and spirit. The Oil of Catechumens is blessed for the anointing of those preparing for baptism. “Through this anointing, they are strengthened by Christ to resist the power of evil in all its forms,” explained Josh Perry, director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Burlington.

The Holy Chrism was consecrated by the bishop and priests of the Diocese to anoint infants after baptism, those who are to be confirmed and bishops and priests at their ordination. It is also used to anoint altars and churches at the time of their dedication.

After the Mass, the oils were distributed and brought back to all the churches in the Diocese.


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