April 05, 2007

Holy Thursday-- The Chrism Mass

The liturgical chants, the prayers, the readings and texts of the Chrism Mass dwell strongly on the ministry of Christ and his apostles— the same ministry handed on in the bishops and to the priests down to our day.

The Church celebrates Holy Thursday as the beginning of the Eucharistic Priesthood. So, the Chrism Mass ideally takes place sometime on Holy Thursday in the morning, at noon or in the very early afternoon, with all the priests of a diocese concelebrating the Chrism Mass with their bishop. [In actual practice, the Chrism Mass is often celebrated some days earlier, because it is not practical for priests to go to the Chrism Mass and then have to rush back to their parish churches to celebrate the Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.]

At the Chrism Mass the bishop blesses or consecrates the oils that are to serve as the Oil of Saints (also known as the “Oil of Catechumens”), the Sacred Chrism and the Oil of the Sick. These Holy Oils are then distributed to all the parish churches under that bishop.

The Opening Prayer of the Chrism Mass

by the power of the Holy Spirit
you anointed your only Son Messiah and Lord of all creation.
You have given us a share in his consecration to priestly service in your Church.
Help us to be faithful witnesses in the world
to the salvation Christ won for all mankind.

The Preface of the Chrism Mass

Father, all powerful and everliving God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
By your Holy Spirit
you anointed your only Son
High Priest of the new and eternal covenant.
With wisdom and love you have planned
that this one priesthood should continue in the Church.
Christ gives the dignity of a royal priesthood
to the people he has made his own.
From these, with a brother’s love,
he chooses men to share his sacred ministry
by the laying on of hands.
He appoints them to renew in his name
the sacrifice of our redemption
as they set before your family his paschal meal.
He calls them to lead your holy people in love,
nourish them by your word,
and strengthen them through the sacraments.
Father, they are to give their lives in your service
and for the salvation of your people
as they strive to grow in the likeness of Christ
and honor you by their courageous witness of faith and love.

Through Christ the angels of heaven offer their prayer of adoration as they rejoice in your presence for ever. May our voices be one with theirs in their triumphant hymn of praise: Holy, holy, holy….

I have put the texts of the prayers for each of the three Holy Oils in the first comment on this post.


Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...



God of all consolation
you chose and sent your Son to heal the world.
Graciously listen to our prayer of faith:
send the power of your Holy Spirit, the Consoler,
into this precious oil, this soothing ointment,
this rich gift, this fruit of the earth.

Bless this oil + and sanctify it for our use.

Make this oil a remedy for all who are anointed with it;
heal them in body, in soul, and in spirit,
and deliver them from every affliction.



Lord God,
protector of all who believe in you,
bless + this oil
and give wisdom and strength
to all who are anointed with it
in preparation for their baptism.
Bring them to a deeper understanding of the gospel,
help them to accept the challenge of Christian living,
and lead them to the joy of new birth
in the family of your Church.



Let us pray
that God our almighty Father
will bless this oil
so that all who are anointed with it
may be inwardly transformed
and come to share in eternal salvation.

God our maker,
source of all growth in holiness,
accept the joyful thanks and praise
we offer in the name of your Church.

In the beginning, at your command,
the earth produced fruit-bearing trees.
From the fruit of the olive tree
you have provided us with oil for holy chrism.
The prophet David sang of the life and joy
that the oil would bring us in the sacraments of your love.

After the avenging flood,
the dove returning to Noah with an olive branch
annouced your gift of peace.
This was a sign of a greater gift to come.
Now the waters of baptism wash away the sins of men,
and by the anointing with olive oil
you make us radiant with your joy.

At your command,
Aaron was washed with water,
and your servant Moses, his brother,
anointed him priest.
This too foreshadowed greater things to come.
After your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
asked John for baptism in the waters of Jordan,
you sent the Spirit upon him
in the form of a dove
and by the witness of your own voice
you declared him to be your only, well-beloved Son.
In this you clearly fulfilled the prophecy of David,
that Christ would be anointed with the oil of gladness
beyond his fellow men.

And so, Father, we ask you to bless + this oil you have created.
Fill it with the power of your Holy Spirit
through Christ your Son.
It is from him that chrism takes its name
and with chrism you have anointed
for yourself priests and kings,
prophets and martyrs.

Make this chrism a sign of life and salvation
for those who are to be born again inthe waters of baptism.
Wash away the evil they have inherited from sinful Adam,
and when they are anointed with this holy oil
make them temples of your glory,
radiant with the goodness of life
that has its source in you.

Through this sign of chrism
grant them royal, priestly, and prophetic honor,
and clothe them with incorruption.
Let this be indeed the chrism of salvation
for those who will be born again of water and the Holy Spirit.
May they come to share eternal life
in the glory of your kingdom.


9:18 PM  
Blogger DilexitPrior said...

Because of your post on this from last year I decided to skip my class on Tuesday to attend the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral. It was well worth it (and I figured it was very appropriate to skip my "Church and Sacraments" theology class to attend the Chrism Mass. . .).

Thanks Father!

And Happy Easter! :-)

2:53 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Bonne Pâques!

La dernière fois que j'ai eu l'opportunité de la Messe Chrismale ... je ne sais pas. Je t'envie.

3:23 PM  

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