Last night the Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Baker was celebrated at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral (due to the long distances priests are required to travel in our diocese, the Chrism Mass is held the week before Holy Thursday). It was supposed to have been extra special, as our Bishop-Elect, Fr. Liam Cary, was to be there to preach. Unfortunately, but understandably, he had to change his plans due to his full schedule, and he was not in attendance at all.
I know from personal experience that many people are involved in the planning of the Chrism Mass, and they all work hard and with sincere desire to provide a good liturgy. They also provide a meal for the priests, help with finding them lodging, etc. And of course, distributing the oils is quite an undertaking, as the oils have to be carefully poured into containers for transport. The Chrism Mass is no small effort for this little community!
That said, I offer some photos with commentary. I hope any of my comments that can be construed as overly critical will instead be taken in the spirit in which I intend them: as constructive criticism.
Before Mass: the antependium is floor-length and the table is well-covered. Still, there are nicer fabrics that would make a more appropriate vestment for the altar; perhaps someday I will be able to make some suggestions for fabric and design. I'd be happy to sew it, too.
Everyone is seated...
There are instituted acolytes throughout the diocese, and often at least a few of them are willing to travel to the Cathedral. The diocese even boasts a couple of instituted lectors; it would have been great to have used their services rather than using female readers for the first two readings.
Below: case in point. Is it just me? (Some will say yes, but others will agree with me.) Here we have the deacon reading the Gospel, flanked by three young women. There is just something inherently wrong with this picture!
Again, I know that the people at the Cathedral worked hard to make everything go smoothly and reverently, and I appreciate that. Still, I would also appreciate it if they would be open to making the Mass(es) of the Cathedral even more closely aligned with the rubrics and the traditions of the Church.
The Cathedral is, after all, the mother church of the diocese, and should set the highest standard for liturgical excellence!