Chrism Mass or the Mass of the Oils.
On the Morning of Holy Thursday, there is only one mass celebrated in a Diocese. All the priests gather around the Bishop to renew their commitment to ministry. Together with the Bishop as one Presbyterium, the Oils for use in the Church are blessed.
Priests renew their commitment to be more prayerful, to imitate Jesus more and to serve his people. The Bishop then asks all the people present to pray for the priests.
Today celebrates the reversal of the order that Moses was given to institute the Priesthood. Moses was instructed to put everything in place – the tent, the Laver etc and then to consecrate Aaron and the sons of Levi as priests. Only then was the ritual of sacrifice ready.
Jesus institutes the Eucharist at the Last Supper – and then institutes the Priesthood – not by blood but by service.
The Oils that are blessed are:
- Chrism – the Oil that takes its name from Christ – messiah – anointed. This Oil is Olive Oil mixed with a perfume and is used to consecrate – People in Baptims, confirmation and Priestly or Episcopal Ordination and also of Places – the walls and Altar top of the Church when it is dedicated by the Bishop.
- The Oil of the Sick – the Oil blessed by the Bishop for the spiritual and bodily comfort of sick Christians, an Oil reserved to the use of the Priest as it is also the Oil that is used in the Sacrament of the Sick for the healing of Body and for the forgiveness of Sins.
- The Oil of Catechumens – all Christians are anointed with the Oil of Catechumens in preparation for their baptism. This Oil symbolises the warding off of evil, the protection of those learning about their faith and the promise of the Gifts and Graces of Baptism.
After the Oils are blessed at the Chrism Mass they are distributed to each Parish, according to need.
Some Diocese choose to celebrate the Chrism mass on the Tuesday or Wednesday of Holy week to accommodate those priests who have to travel distances.
How to prepare:
- Organize a group of parishioners to attend the Chrism Mass.
- What does your Parish Community do to appreciate your Priest and assist in his ministry?
- Today is a busy day for Priests and Sacristans and those responsible for preparing for the Triduum – What can you do to assist?
- Pray for your Priest, pray for all Priests, Pray for more Priests.