Chrism Mass celebrates ‘union and unity’ of local church

During the consecration of the sacred Chrism, Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre breathed into the mixture of oil and balsam, a symbol of the Holy Spirit and the life-giving nature of the sacraments. Samuel Mattingly, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Louisville, assisted. The annual Chrism Mass was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Assumption April 4. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre, celebrating his second Chrism Mass in the Archdiocese of Louisville, told the hundreds who gathered the evening of April 4, that although we have endured much, we are never alone.

“This Mass is an expression of the union and unity of those who journey together,” he said.

The annual liturgy, celebrated at the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville,  brought together pastors and parishioners from around the archdiocese to witness the blessing of the oils and the consecration of the sacred Chrism. 

Doug Wolz carried the oil of the catechumens in a procession at the Chrism Mass. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

The oils — the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens — will be used throughout the year for those who are ill and those who are preparing to join the Catholic Church, respectively. 

The Oil of the Sick should bring “courage, hope, peace, healing” to those who are ill, Archbishop Fabre said. The Oil of the Catechumens is to “strengthen the catechumens who are being born again in the sacrament of baptism.” The sacred Chrism is used for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders, and when dedicating a new church or altar. Following the Mass, the oils are distributed to each of the 110 churches in the archdiocese.

Also during the Mass, the members of the presbyterate renewed their priestly promises.

Priests of the Archdiocese of Louisville renewed their priestly promises during the Chrism Mass. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Speaking to his “brother priests,” Archbishop Fabre thanked them for their ministry and spoke of the responsibility bestowed on them through the anointing they received. 

“I invite you to feel the weight of these words,” he said during his homily. “In a powerful and real way, you represent the person of Jesus Christ. Your words are his words. Your presence conveys his presence. …I want you to know just how deeply he desires this union with you.”

That unity, he said, is crucial.

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre blessed the Oil of the Sick used in the sacrament of anointing of the sick. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

“This unity is very important because there are forces that will manipulate any sign of division among us,” he said. “May this sign of union unify us far and wide.”

To the members of the faithful, Archbishop Fabre said he was struck by the liturgy’s responsorial psalm — “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”

Given all the world has endured in the past few years — including a pandemic, strife and natural disasters — some might be apprehensive.

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre blessed the Sacred Chrism. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

“How can we forever sing the goodness of the Lord” after we’ve endured so much?

“The answer roots itself in our presence here tonight,” which indicates the recognition that “God is Emmanuel and never leaves us to face any challenges alone,” the archbishop said. “His goodness urges us to sing the goodness of the Lord always.”

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre poured balsam into the Sacred Chrism. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

‘This unity is very important because there are forces that will manipulate any sign of division among us. May this sign of union unify us far and wide.’

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre
Kayla Bennett
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Kayla Bennett
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