At Chrism Mass, Bishop-elect Ruggieri reminds priests to 'be Christ for others'


PROVIDENCE — The annual Chrism Mass was celebrated on Tuesday, March 26, in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, with Bishop Richard G. Henning celebrating and with Portland Bishop-elect James T. Ruggieri, pastor of St. Patrick and St. Michael the Archangel parishes, serving as homilist.
Dozens of priests across Rhode Island concelebrated the Mass, and many deacons were also in attendance.
Bishop-elect Ruggieri will officially succeed Bishop Robert P. Deeley, J.C.D., who has led the Diocese of Portland for 10 years, at his Mass of ordination and installation on May 7, 2024, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Maine. He will become the 13th Bishop of Portland.
In his homily, Bishop-elect Ruggieri encouraged his brother priests to never stop striving to know their vocation through meaningful and authentic love of others.
“My dear brothers, as we collaborate and support our bishop as ordained priests, our great ministry is to be Christ for others… The Christ we witness in the Gospel tonight is the Christ was must witness to others. The spirit works with the Son. The spirit must be allowed to work through us and our humanity— forming us to be joyful bearers of good news, bold proclaimers of real liberation and authentic freedom from sin and death, living examples of incarnate love. Authentic joy is based on authentic love. Therefore as priests and as the baptized faithful here tonight we are called to authentic love.”
During the Mass, the priests renewed their priestly promises and the bishop consecrated and blessed holy oils used in the sacramental rites of the church for the coming year. Sacred chrism (sacrum chrisma) is a fragranced oil that only a bishop can consecrate and which is used during baptisms, confirmations and the ordinations of priests and bishops. Chrism is also used during the dedication and consecration of churches and altars.
The other oils blessed at the Mass are the oil of catechumens (oleum catechumenorum or oleum sanctorum), which is used for infant baptisms and in some of the preparatory rites for catechumens as they prepare for baptism and initiation into the Catholic Church, and the oil of the sick (oleum infirmorum), used in the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.
Since 2003, Bishop-Elect Ruggieri has served as pastor of Saint Patrick Parish, Providence, and since 2020 also served as pastor of Saint Michael the Archangel Parish, Providence. He is also the founding pastor of St. Patrick’s Academy, Providence.