Chrism Mass is a Celebration that Includes the Renewal of Priestly Promises and the Blessing of Oils

Memphis, Tenn. – On May 28, at 7:00pm, Bishop David P. Talley will join the priests of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis to celebrate the annual Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception — a celebration that includes the renewal of priestly promises and the blessing of oils.

Usually everyone in the Diocese is invited to attend, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic only our priests, deacons with spouses and seminarians are invited to attend the Chism Mass with faithful Diocese families being able to follow the Mass through streaming it on our CDOM Facebook, YouTube and Website.

Following the homily at this Mass, in the presence of the Bishop and faithful online, the Priests will renew their commitment to the ministry to which they were ordained. It is similar to the renewal of wedding vows in front of family members, the priests will be asked to repeat the promises taken at their ordination in the presence of the Catholic faithful.

The vocation is a marriage to Christ and to the church. It is important to any priest to have the faithful there to bear witness, to have the people’s support and encouragement in our ministry. The Bishop at one point will say “as for you dear sons and daughters pray for your Priests.” It is important for the priests there to know they have those prayers.

After the renewal, Bishop Talley will bless the three oils that will be used in celebrating the sacraments in the Diocese. The first two oils–the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumen—are extra-virgin olive oil and are blessed.

The Oil of the Sick is used in anointing the head and hands of those who are seriously and chronically ill to give them spiritual strength to fight in their weakened condition. The Oil of the Catechumens is used in the sacrament of baptism, meant to provide strength for discipleship.

The third oil–Sacred Chrism–is extra-virgin olive oil mixed with balsam. As part of consecrating Sacred Chrism, the Bishop breathes on the mixture, which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. When someone is anointed with Sacred Chrism they become one with Christ. It is used in baptisms, confirmations, ordinations and the dedication of a church and altar.

In our Diocese, the Chrism Mass is celebrated on the Tuesday of Holy Week, but due to the COVID-19 as previously mentioned, it is being celebrated next Thursday at 7:00pm. The Chrism Mass is tied to the Easter Triduum not only because the oils are used in the Easter Sacraments, but it’s also the gathering of the church as a whole community. It is the church at its finest.

With both the renewal of priestly promises and the blessing and consecration of the oils, our Bishop, Priests, Deacons, Seminarians and Faithful will rejoice in the gift of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis. It’s will be a beautiful evening–One Church, One Heartbeat!

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