Thursday, March 17, 2016

Chrism Mass today

I have many happy memories of this day as all priests gather with their bishop at the Cathedral in Baker City for the blessing of the sacred oils to be used throughout the Diocese over the next year. Since I was in the Cathedral for 8 years, it was my responsibility to organize this day with the help of the Cathedral staff. There was a lot of coordination involved especially towards the end of the celebration when the three different oils had to be put in small quantities in three different plastic bottles, for each priest of the Diocese. But there was also a lot of setting up to do, like planning the Holy Hour, then the Happy Hour, followed by the dinner hosted by the kind ladies of the Altar Society, as well as some snacks for after the Chrism Mass. Last but not least there was the liturgical aspect of the celebration, the readings, the music by the Folk Group or Choir, the official group photo on the steps of the Cathedral and so much more. Besides there was also the recognition of those priests who celebrate anniversaries divisible by 5 years, therefore 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 etc. The oils to be blessed are the Oil of Catechumens, used at baptisms, the Oil of the Sick, used in the anointing of the sick and infirm, and the Oil of Chrism, which is mixed with a perfume called balsam, to be used at Baptisms, Confirmations, Ordinations of priests and bishops, as well as consecrations of new churches, altars, etc.

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