24 Mar Holy Thursday: Chrism Mass
Holy Thursday morning, the bishop, joined by the priests of the diocese, gather at the Cathedral to celebrate the Chrism Mass. Watch the Archdiocese of Lagos Chrism mass at chrismmasslagos.com or chrismmasslagos.org.
This Mass manifests the unity of the priests with their bishop. Here the bishop blesses three oils which will be used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the diocese for the year:
– The oil of catechumen: it is used at Baptism, to strengthen (with wisdom & courage to live the Gospel) & purify candidates (from original sin) before baptizing with water.
– The oil of the sick: Used in Sacrament of the Sick to bring the strengthening & healing power of Christ, who is at work in the Church by the action of the Holy Spirit. St. James writes: “Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders [priests] of the Church & have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, & the Lord will raise them up & anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.” James 5:14-15
– Holy chrism: It is a mixture of olive oil rich oil, symbol of richness of God’s grace) & balsam fragrance (symbol of sweetness of Christian virtue). The Oil of Chrism is a sign of fullness of grace & spiritual strength; it consecrates & enables us to live out the call to follow Jesus the Christ (the anointed one) as baptized/confirmed/ordained Christians. It is used to anoint the newly baptized, to seal the candidates for confirmation & to anoint the hands of presbyters [priests] & the heads of bishops at their ordination, as well as in the rites of anointing pertaining to the dedication of churches & altars.
The Chrism Mass reminds us of our oneness in Christ through Baptism & its holy anointing, made possible by the ministry of the Bishop & his priests. The Chrism mass is also a key moment in which the unity of the Bishop with his priests is manifested & renewed.
During the liturgy, the entire assembly is called to renew its baptismal promises; deacons & priests also renew their vow of obedience to the local Bishop & their commitment to serve God’s people. At the end of the Chrism Mass, the Holy Oils are brought back to parishes of the diocese for use in the coming year.