The oils that are used for anointing in parishes around the Archdiocese of Louisville were blessed and consecrated last night during the annual Chrism Mass, conducted at the Cathedral of the Assumption.
Three large decanters of olive oil stood at the entrance of the Cathedral prior to the celebration and each was presented to Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz after the homily. The archbishop, standing to one side of the altar, blessed the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens and consecrated the sacred Chrism.
The Oil of the Sick is used for the Sacrament of Anointing and it was presented to the archbishop by people who represented sick and infirm Catholics.
The Oil of Catechumens is used to anoint those who are preparing for baptism and was presented by members of the catechumenate ministry.
Finally, the sacred Chrism, a mixture of olive oil and balsam, is used to anoint in a variety of celebrations, including the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders. It is also used to dedicate new churches and altars. This oil was presented by Deacon Nick Brown, who will be anointed with this oil at his presbyteral ordination; Brenda Rickert of St. Michael parish which is building a new church; and Brandee King of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church who is preparing for Confirmation.
During his homily, the archbishop explained the uses of these oils and also noted that this season is a time of renewal in the church.
Each year during the Chrism Mass, priests of the archdiocese renew the promises they made at ordination. The archbishop thanked them for their service to the archdiocese and gave thanks for all those who serve the church in different ways.
And he called on all of the church’s faithful to renewal.
“Renewal in the church is the work that belongs to each one of us,” he said.
The archbishop likened that calling to the call of St. Francis of Assisi, whose name the new pope has adopted. According to the story, St. Francis was called by Christ to “rebuild” the church as he stood in the midst of a crumbling sanctuary.
“In a mystical way, Francis heard on that day Christ say to him, ‘rebuild my church’ and he took that literally,” the archbishop said. Later, “it became clear to him Christ had something more in mind.”
“He became an instrument of Christ,” sad Archbishop Kurtz.
On the path to become an instrument of Christ, the archbishop said, the church offers “tools” to the faithful, including the seven sacraments and anointing oils that are “visible tools for us to be renewed,” he said.