Catholics often don’t get a chance to participate in a Chrism Mass celebrated at the cathedral presided over by the local bishop. The Chrism Mass manifests the unity of the priests with their bishop.
What is Chrism Mass?
The Chrism Mass is one of the most solemn liturgies in the diocese. Chrism Mass is the religious service where the church blesses three important oils used for the purpose of sanctification. Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Anglicans among other Christian denominations celebrate Chrism Mass.
When is the Chrism Mass Celebrated?
The General Instructions to the Roman Missal seem to encourage priests to participate in the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday. The priests also have an evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The rubric suggests that the Chrism Mass is celebrated in the morning, indicating the difficulty for clergy and people to gather at the cathedral and then be present for the mass of the Lord’s supper in the evening at the parish. The bishop can suggest an appropriate day before Holy Thursday to meaningfully celebrate Chrism Mass in the diocese. The day of Chrism Mass in dioceses may vary depending on the local custom.
Blessings of Three Oils during Chrism Mass.
The bishop blesses three oils during the chrism mass: The Oil of the Sick (oleum infirmorum), the Oil of the Catechumens (oleum catechumenorum or oleum sanctorum), and consecration of Holy Chrism(sacrum chrisma). The rubric indicates the blessing of the Oil of the Sick (formerly known as extreme unction) may take place before the end of the Eucharistic prayer. The blessing of the Oil of Catechumens and the consecration of the Chrism take place after communion. But for pastoral reasons, the rite of blessing of the oils may take place after the liturgy of the word.
What are the Holy Oils Used?
The Bishop will consecrate the sacred oils used in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders. All the priests of the diocese will join in the Chrism mass. After the Chrism Mass, the priests will take the annual supply of these oils to their parish.
Symbolism of Oil
In most cases, churches use olive oil. The Bible indicates references to the importance of olive oil for nourishment, healing, and anointing. Apart from the daily life of the Jewish people, people used olive oil during religious ceremonies. The symbolism of oil covers from sanctification to healing, strengthening to beautification, dedication to consecration and sacrifice.
Essential Use of Holy Chrism
Holy Chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balsam, an aromatic resin, providing an indelible sacramental character. The blessing of the Holy Chrism is different from other oils. Apart from the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Holy Chrism is used in the sacrament of holy orders. While ordaining a priest, the bishop anoints the palms of each new priest with Chrism. When a bishop is consecrated, the Chrism is poured on the head of the new bishop. The Holy Chrism is also used in the dedication ceremony of a church, pouring oil on the altar.
Reception of the Holy Oils in the Parish
There is an Order for the Reception of the Holy Oils in the parish church. It is an opportunity to catechize the faithful about the use and the effects of the Holy Oils and Chrism in Christian life. Check the link
Additional Aspect of the Chrism Mass
During the Chrism Mass, the clergy will renew the priestly promises, renewing their fidelity to the bishop and Jesus Christ.
Chrism Mass, a celebration of unity, is meant to strengthen the ties with a diocese – uniting parishes under its local bishop. The Holy Week biblical narratives bring Jesus’ visit to his friends at Bethany. And Mary anoints Jesus with precious oil; Chrism mass recalls this episode pointing at what will happen days before Jesus’ death on the cross.
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