Alex and I drove over to Charlotte this morning for the Chrism Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral officiated by Bishop Peter Jugis. Priests from all over the diocese were there, to renew their vocations, along with all of the Seminarians from the diocese as well. We got there around 9:15, and the Mass was at 10:00. The first miracle of the day is that I parallel-parked my car!! For those of you who know me well, you will instantly recognize that this was truly an act of God’s Divine Grace and Mercy! But I digress. . .
Alex had borrowed a cassock and surplice from our parish, because he had been told that if he vested up, he would be able to participate. He was warned that he would probably just process in and out, and sit there, but at least he would be ‘a part’. Well. . . . the Mass started, and there was this LONGGGGG procession of priests (I think 120 of them???) and some deacons and Bishop Emeritus William Curlin, and Abbot Placid Solari from Belmont Abbey, and finally Bishop Jugis. I was beginning to wonder if Alex had gotten to serve after all. Then I saw him, following the Bishop, with one other altar boy, and they had these white cloths draped over their shoulders and hands, so I knew they would be holding the Bishop’s Mitre (hat) and Crosier (staff). Sure enough, when the Bishop got up to the Altar, he handed his staff to Alex, and Alex got to sit up on the Altar for the entire Mass, holding the Bishop’s staff!!! I actually cried, I was so proud!! Oh, and to top things off perfectly, there were five of Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity at the Mass, too! They had on the white habits with the blue stripes and all!
The Mass was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I am sure that the choir sounded very much like the Angelic Choir in Heaven!! I got chills listening to them. It was the most ‘holy feeling’ Mass I’ve ever attended, and I just kept feeling so blessed and unworthy to be there! I loved the incense, and the smell of the oils. (The Chrism Mass is where the Bishop blesses the Chrism and Anointing oils for the Diocese for the upcoming Liturgical Year, then a priest or deacon from each parish takes them home to his church.)
Anyway, afterward, when I was walking out, I got to shake Bishop Jugis’ hand, and I introduced myself and told him that I was Alex’s mom, the one who was holding his staff. He said, “Oh, yes! He will be talking about that forever!” And I blurted out “So will I!” He smiled and told me that holding the Bishop’s staff was a very important office, and that Alex should be very proud and I thanked him for letting Alex be a part. Then we went to lunch with some friends from our parish. It was an incredible day!!!
For more information on Chrism and it’s uses/meanings, please visit NewAdvent.