Parishioners from all 56 parishes of the dioceses are being invited once more to join with the bishops and priests of the diocese for the annual Chrism Mass to be held in the Cathedral, Carlow at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 31st March.

Diocesan Celebration

The Chrism Mass is the largest diocesan celebration held during the year. In this liturgy priests and people gather with the bishop for the blessing of the holy oils that will be used in parishes in the coming year the oil of the sick, the oil of Catechumens and the oil of Chrism, from which the Mass receives its name. It is a special time to gather as a diocesan family – bishop, priests and people to support and pray for one another, to remember and pray for the people of our diocese and beyond. The diocesan choir will lead the music on the night under the direction of Fr. Liam Lawton and afterwards refreshments will be served in the Parish Centre, to which all are invited.

The blessing and consecration of oils

While the Oil of the Sick, used for those who seek the anointing, and the Oil of the Catechumens, used for those preparing for baptism, are simply “blessed,” the Sacred Chrism is “consecrated”. All the priests present participate in the latter moment by extending their hands toward the vessel containing it as the bishop says the prayer of consecration.

The Chrism is used at baptisms, confirmations, the ordination of priests and bishops, the consecration of altars and the blessing of churches, where the walls are smeared with it in the shape of the sign of the cross.

As part of the consecration of the Chrism, balsam is poured into the oil, which gives it a sweet smell intended to remind those who encounter it of the “odour of sanctity” to which those people and things who are marked with it, and by extension all of us, are called to strive for.

Renewal of Ordination Vows

The Chrism Mass also provides an opportunity for the priests of the diocese to renew the vows they first made at their ordination. As a group of ministers gathered with members of the faithful of the diocese they make their public commitment to the service of God, the Church and its people once more.