Chrism Mass, with its Blessing of Holy Oils, Set for May 27

The Chrism Mass, a special celebration that usually happens on the Wednesday of Holy Week, will take place at 10:30 a.m. May 27 at Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena.

Typically the largest gathering of clergy in any diocese throughout the year, the Chrism Mass was postponed this year because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The rescheduled Mass will be much smaller for the safety of participants, and will not be open to the public.

It will be livestreamed on www.ad-today.com, and on the Diocese’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. It also will be carried on Service Electric cable on Channels 50 and 550.

During this Mass, the Bishop will bless the Oil of Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick, and consecrate the Sacred Chrism, for use in parishes during the upcoming year.

The use of oil traces its roots to the Bible. Olive oil was prevalent in Jerusalem and had many practical uses: food, heating, providing light, and healing wounds. Kings and prophets were anointed as chosen by God.

Today the use of oil also is prevalent. Its sacramental use is similar to the practical ones: healing, strengthening, and a sign of being chosen by God. Four sacraments use blessed Oils: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick.

The Oil of Catechumens is the first Oil we ever receive, just moments before the waters of Baptism are poured over our head. This anointing provides us with the armor of Christ, to protect us from the evil one and prepare us for a life of grace.

The Oil of the Sick is used in the Anointing of the Sick to strengthen the infirmed and those preparing for the end of their earthly pilgrimage.

The Sacred Chrism is unique in nature: a mixture of olive oil and balsam, giving it a sweet fragrance.

Chrism is used in Baptism to crown the newly baptized as priest, prophet, and king; to seal those in Confirmation with the Holy Spirit; to consecrate the hands of those who, as priests, will offer the Eucharist; and to consecrate Altars where the Sacrifice is offered.

When priests receive the newly blessed Oils this year – in a distribution method designed to help ensure the safety of all involved – they will bury or burn any leftover Oil from last year.