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What is chrism mass and what happens during chrism mass in the catholic church

The Chrism Mass is a public celebration and display of the unity of the bishop to the priests of his diocese and the entire Church community as Members of the Body of Christ with Jesus Christ as the Head. It is one of the most holy and solemn Masses celebrated all year. What then happens during the Chrism Mass? 

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY CHRISM MASS? 

The Mass takes its name from the most eminent of the three holy oils which the bishop commissions for his local church's use over the following year.

The Chrism Mass, ordinarily celebrated on Holy Thursday morning by the Bishop and concelebrated with the priests of the diocese, is the Mass when the bishop consecrates the holy chrism and blesses the oil of catechumens and the oil of the sick. 

Also, Priests are brought together and concelebrate this Mass as witnesses and cooperators with their bishop in the consecration of the chrism because they share in the sacred office of the bishop in building up, sanctifying, and ruling the people of God.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE CHRISM MASS? 

Traditionally this Mass was celebrated on Holy Thursday, though for pastoral reasons it is often moved to Monday or Tuesday of Holy Week, and in some cases is even celebrated on a different day during Lent. Aside the celebration of the Eucharist, the following takes place during the Chrism Mass:

1.THE BLESSING AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE HOLY OILS

At the offertory, the three Holy Oils and balsam fragrance are carried up to the sanctuary with gifts of bread and wine. The Oil of the Sick is blessed by the bishop during the Eucharistic Prayer. The bishop then mixes the balsam fragrance into the Chrism, and blesses it.

As the bishop prays, the priests present with him extend their right hands toward the Chrism, signifying their participation in his authority, through which Christ himself sanctifies and builds up his body, the Church. 

When the Chrism is blessed, the Bishop breathes over the open vessel which contains it. This is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, who blew over the face of the waters before creation (Gen 1, 2b), and of the risen Jesus, who appeared to his disciples and breathed on them saying “Receive the Holy Spirit…”(John 20, 22-23). It is the Holy Spirit who consecrates this oil through the Bishop’s invocation.

Finally, after the Chrism has been blessed, the Bishop blesses the Oil of Catechumens. At the end of the liturgy, the holy oils are distributed to representatives of each parish.

2. RENEWAL OF VOWS AND PROMISES 

During the Chrism Mass also, the priests, in the presence of the bishop and the faithful, renew their commitment to the ministry to which they were ordained.

WHAT ARE THE OILS USED FOR?

THE OIL OF THE SICK is Used in the Sacrament of Annointing of the Sick to bring the strengthening and healing power of Christ, who is at work in the Church by the action of the Holy Spirit.

THE OIL OF CATECHUMENS is used at Baptism, to strengthen (with wisdom and courage to live the Gospel) and purify candidates (from original sin) before baptizing with water. And,

HOLY CHRISM which is a mixture of olive oil (a rich oil, symbol of richness of God’s grace) and balsam fragrance (symbol of sweetness of Christian virtue). The Oil of Chrism is a sign of fullness of grace and spiritual strength; it consecrates and enables us to live out the call to follow Jesus the Christ.

The oil of Chrism is used at Baptism, Confirmation and During the Ordination of a Priest or Bishop. Holy Chrism is also used in the dedication ceremony of a church. Here, the bishop anoints the altar, pouring holy chrism on the entire altar. After anointing the altar, he anoints the walls of the Church in 12 or fourteen places marked by crosses. It is also used to anoint the new bell of a church.

WHY IS THE CHRISM MASS IMPORTANT?

The Chrism Mass reminds us of our oneness in Christ through Baptism and its holy anointing, made possible by the ministry of the Bishop and his priests. 

Futhermore, the Chrism mass is also a key moment in which the unity of the Bishop with his priests is manifested and renewed. During the liturgy, the entire assembly is called to renew its baptismal promises; deacons and priests also renew their vow of obedience to the local Bishop and their commitment to serve God’s people. 

This Mass is therefore a clear expression of the unity of the priesthood and the sacrifice of Christ, which continue to be present in the Church. 

More so, the Chrism Mass is a beautiful celebration of unity and is meant to strengthen ties with a diocese, uniting all parishes under the guidance of its local shepherd. 

The Chrism Mass is very important to the life of the Church because the holy oils blessed there are used in Sacramental anointing and consecration to mark us as the People of God (a Holy Nation of Priests, Prophets and Kings). Let us all make efforts to attend the Chrism mass holding in our various dioceses.

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CHRISM Chrism Mass

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