Each year on the Tuesday of Holy Week, the clergy of the Diocese of Arizona gather at the invitation of our Bishop, the Right Rev. Kirk S. Smith, to renew our ordination vows and celebrate the Eucharist. This year, the clergy gathered at Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix on April 15. The Very Rev. Troy Mendez, the new Dean of the Cathedral, was the preacher.
The moving service was a time of reflection and connection. We reflected on the meaning of our ministry and the servanthood to which we are called, and gained a sense of the breadth and depth of the care and compassion of our Bishop.
The service is an opportunity for clergy to recognize the shared ministry we hold with the Bishop. The Bishop reminded us that we have been called to a ministry of servanthood under him, to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely.
During the Renewal of Vows portion of the service, we renewed our commitment to the ministry through reaffirming these promises:
- To give ourselves to prayer and study,
- To minister the word of God and the Sacraments of the New Covenant so that the reconciling love of Christ may be known and received,
- To be a faithful servant of all those committed to our care, patterning our lives in accordance with the teachings of Christ, so that we may be a wholesome example to the people,
- To join in the voice of the Bishop in his reaffirmation of his episcopate and clergy vows.
After the Eucharist, the Bishop consecrated and blessed the oils for the whole of the Diocese for this next year. This includes the two types of oil that we use in ministry throughout the year ahead, the Oil of Chrism and the Oil of Healing. The Chrism oil, used at baptisms, was consecrated with a prayer that “all who are sealed with it may share in the royal priesthood of Jesus Christ.” The Healing oil (also known as Oleum Infirmorium) was blessed with a prayer that “as your holy apostles anointed many that were sick and healed them, so may those who in faith and repentance receive this holy unction be made whole.” These oils, consecrated and blessed by our Bishop, are a rich symbol of our common bonds of faith and ministry in the Episcopal Church.
As the Holy Spirit moved through the Cathedral that day, our hearts felt renewed and joyful, as we recognized what an honor it is to serve the Church in this parish and this community.
—The Rev. Vicki K. Hesse and the Rev. Greg A. Foraker
photo by Nicole Krug, Diocesan Canon for Media and Communications