The Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange will bless the oils used for sacramental anointing and officiate over the annual renewal of promises made by priests serving in Orange County in the Arboretum on the Christ Cathedral campus, this evening at 5:30 p.m. The annual Chrism Mass has been celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church for over 1,000 years and is marked by the ceremonial blessing of the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick and consecration of the oil of chrism. The blessed oils will be used in all the parishes within the diocese.
“This ceremony is among the most essential liturgies celebrated each year. Once blessed, these sacred oils will be used to anoint the sick, baptize catechumens and infants, confirm candidates, ordain priests, and anoint altars,” said Bishop Vann.
The Chrism Mass takes its name from the title “the Christ,” which means the Anointed One and is celebrated in conjunction with all other dioceses in the world, including Rome. Bishop Brown will begin by blessing the oil of the sick and the oil of catechumens. The oil of the sick is used to anoint all who suffer in mind and body. By the holy anointing, the sick gain strength in their suffering, are released from fear and receive the consolation of faith. The oil of catechumens is reserved for those preparing for baptism. In receiving this anointing, infants and those coming into the Church (the “elect”) gain strength to renounce sin and resist the glamour of evil and so approach the waters of baptism.
Following the blessing of the oils of the sick and catechumens, the chrism oil is consecrated. The bishop pours balsam into the oil and breathes the Holy Spirit over the mixture. The balsam is symbolic of the sweet odor of virtue; the oil signifies the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on a person and the consecration of sacred objects for sacred usage. Mixed with fragrant perfume, the holy chrism is consecrated to anoint the newly baptized, those receiving confirmation, the hands of priests, the head of a bishop, and the altars and walls of new churches at their dedications.