To my chagrin, I learned that the crown had only been temporarily displayed in Richmond. The crown resides permanently in New Orleans.
Not only that: A thoroughly well-educated young man told me that Mrs. Varina Davis wove the crown, not the Pope.
Buzzkill. (I did lay eyes on the Holy Father’s 1863 letter to East Clay Street!)
My opinion: The arguments for Varina’s having woven the crown do not convince. Could have been the Pope…
…For our meditation: the Pontifical prayer for the consecration of the Holy Chrism, used to anoint in Holy Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders…
God our maker, source of all growth in holiness, accept the joyful thanks and praise we offer in the name of your Church. In the beginning, at your command, the earth produced fruit-bearing trees.
From the fruit of the olive tree you have provided us with oil for holy chrism. The prophet David sang of the life and joy that the oil would bring us in the sacraments of your love.
After the avenging flood, the dove returning to Noah with an olive branch announced your gift of peace. This was a sign of a greater gift to come. Now the waters of baptism wash away the sins of men, and by the anointing with olive oil you make us radiant with your joy.
At your command, Aaron was washed with water, and your servant Moses, his brother, anointed him priest. This too foreshadowed greater things to come. After your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, asked John for baptism in the waters of Jordan, you sent the Spirit upon him in the form of a dove and by the witness of your own voice you declared him to be your only, well-beloved Son. In this you clearly fulfilled the prophecy of David, that Christ would be anointed with the oil of gladness beyond his fellow men.
And so, Father, we ask you to bless + this oil you have created. Fill it with the power of your Holy Spirit through Christ your Son. It is from him that chrism takes its name and with chrism you have anointed for yourself priests and kings, prophets and martyrs.