Chrism Mass celebrates church’s unity

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, above, blessed the oil of the sick during the Chrism Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of the Assumption April 16. Archbishop Kurtz, below, received the oil of the catechumens, which is used in the baptism of infants and the sacraments of initiation (baptism, Eucharist and confirmation). (Record Photos by Ruby Thomas)

By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer

Catholics across the Archdiocese of Louisville gathered at the Cathedral of the Assumption April 16 for the Chrism Mass celebrated by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz.

They joined dozens of members of the presbyterate for the annual Holy Week celebration.

The oils used in sacraments and other blessings throughout the year were blessed and the sacred Chrism was consecrated by the archbishop.

Archbishop Kurtz said the Mass served as an opportunity to unite the 110 parishes in the archdiocese, which stretches from the Ohio River to the Tennessee border.

He reminded those gathered that the faith, which brought them together that night, is a “gift.”

“It’s the anchor of our lives,” he said.

The oil of the sick, the archbishop said, is used to restore the body and soul. It is used for anointing of the sick.

The oil of the catechumens is used to give courage needed “to understand the mysteries of the teachings of Christ,” the archbishop said. This oil is used in infant baptisms and the sacraments of initiation of adults.

The sacred Chrism provides an “inward transformation,” which helps the faithful to become the “people God destined us to be,” he said. Sacred Chrism is used for baptism, confirmation, the ordination of priests and the dedication of altars and churches.

At the evening celebration, priests of the archdiocese also renewed their priestly promises. Members of the diaconate and seminarians in formation for the priesthood also attended the liturgy.

The Chrism Mass is celebrated in dioceses around the world during Holy Week.

Priests of the archdiocese take part in the consecration of the chrism, above, by extending their right hands. The gesture signifies their unity and shared authority with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz. Below Archbishop Kurtz breathes on the oil, a symbol of the Holy Spirit and the life-giving nature of the sacraments.

All priests of the Archdiocese of Louisville, including the archbishop, renew the promises they made at ordination during the Chrism Mass. In renewing their promises, they vow obedience to the archbishop and recommit to serving God’s people.


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