A very important event during Holy Week is the Mass of the Chrism. It takes its name from the fact that it is where the bishop consecrates the Sacred Chrism and blesses the other holy oils that will be used in administering the sacraments in the various parishes during the coming year.
Sometimes celebrated on Holy Thursday morning because of its relationship to Jesus establishing the priestly order on that day, it is the custom in our diocese to move the Mass of the Chrism to Tuesday evening in Holy Week.
It is also a special event that emphasizes the unity of the bishop with his priests. Together they celebrate their common priesthood by the renewal of their priestly vows and their commitment to a life of service to the Church.
In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “Each year the Chrism Mass exhorts us to return to that “yes” to the call of God which we pronounced on the day of our priestly ordination. ‘Adsum – here I am!’ we said like Isaiah, when he heard the voice of God, who asked him: ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ ‘Here I am, send me!’ Isaiah replied” (Isaiah 6:8).
As a preparation for their renewal of priestly vows, priests participate in a day of recollection on the afternoon preceding the Chrism Mass which they will concelebrate with the bishop.
Sacred Chrism is the oil that is used in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders and in the consecration of churches and altars. Only the bishop may consecrate Holy Chrism. The other Holy Oils are the Oil of the Sick, to be used in the Sacrament of the Sick, and the Oil of Catechumens to be used in the Sacrament of Baptism.
Deacons, who with the priests will be using the Sacred Chrism and the Oil of Catechumens in their administration of the sacraments, present to the bishop the vessels containing the oils to be blessed.
After the ceremony, the priest, or another representative of each parish, will fill a small container with each of the Holy Oils to be taken for use in their parish.
In a sense the entire Church of Dallas participates in the Chrism Mass, not just in the presence of the bishop, priests, deacons, religious and lay people at the celebration, but in the fact that the blessed oils become part of the sacramental life of each parish in the diocese during the coming year.