This morning at 11:30am the Archbishop, clergy and people of the diocese filled Cardiff Cathedral for the annual Mass of Chrism. During the annual celebration the Bishop consecrates the oils to be used over the course of the year used within the Sacraments. The administration of the Sacraments is the central action performed by the priests of the diocese in their daily work. Therefore the Mass of Chrism is also a celebration of the work of the priests of the diocese, during which they renew the commitments their made at their ordination; a chance to recall and refocus the energy that brought them to ordination.
The oils were presented for consecration by representatives of the diocese connected to the Sacraments for which they are used. The first oil consecrated was the Oil of the Sick, which was presented by Brother Brian Butler I.C., lay chaplain to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. The Oil of the Sick is used in the administration of the Sacrament of the Sick, typically used on the sick at home and in hospital, those in danger of death and those who are preparing to undergo surgical procedures. The Sacrament is administered for the remission of sin and int he hope of healing.
Next to be consecrated was the Oil of Catechumens, presented by a catechist from one of the parishes within the diocese. Catechumens are those people preparing to enter the Christian Family through the Sacrament of Baptism; be they infant, child or adult. The Oil of Catechumens is a preparatory oil used for the spiritual protection and well being of the person being anointed. Much like athletes who warm up for competition, sometimes using oil to make limbs supple, the Oil of Catechumens signifies the inward preparation for spiritual battle in life.
Finally, the Oil of Chrism was consecrated following presentation by two young people preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Oil is used in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination (of priests and bishops), and also used for the consecration of new churches and altars. During the prayer of Consecration the bishop breathes over the oil, as Christ breathed upon the Apostles to impart the Holy Spirit, and prays: “‘make this mixture of oil and perfume a sign and source of your blessing. Pour out the gifts of your Holy Spirit on our brothers and sisters who will be anointed with it. Let the splendour of holiness shine on the world from every place and thing signed by this oil”. Wherever the Chrism is used, the Holy Spirit is imparted in a special way, bringing the person receiving the Sacrament into a deeper, more fundamental relationship with Jesus Christ and echoing the words:
“‘The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me …” (Luke 4:18)
The April edition of the ‘Catholic People’ will contain a double page spread on this great celebration.
Click here to read Archbishop George’s Homily from the Mass of Chrism 2016