Diocesan Chrism Mass rescheduled to May 28

by Juan Guajardo

North Texas Catholic

May 7, 2020

Bishop Olson at Chrism Mass
The diocesan priests stand as Bishop Michael Olson prays a blessing over the sacramental oils in this 2018 file photo of the Chrism Mass. (NTC/Juan Guajardo) 

FORT WORTH — After weeks of stay-at-home orders and restrictions on public gatherings led to Holy Week liturgies being celebrated in front of empty pews in the Diocese of Fort Worth, Bishop Michael Olson has rescheduled the diocesan Chrism Mass for May 28 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Keller.

Due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus, this year the Holy See permitted bishops worldwide to transfer the celebration of the Chrism Mass to a later date.

“This year we are celebrating the Chrism Mass on the Thursday before Pentecost so that those who are being baptized and received into the Church at the Vigil of Pentecost might be anointed with freshly consecrated Chrism,” Bishop Olson told the NTC.

In order to maintain social distancing guidelines, only priests, transitional deacons, and seminarians will attend the Mass. Faithful across the 28 counties of the diocese will be able to watch the Mass via livestream on the diocesan website, fwdioc.org.

The Chrism Mass, typically celebrated on or before Holy Thursday, is rich in symbolism and carries ties that reach back to the Old Testament.

During the Chrism Mass, the local bishop blesses sacramental oils used throughout the year at every parish in the diocese. The three blessed oils — Sacred Chrism, the Oil of the Sick, and the Oil of Catechumens — are used for sacraments such as Baptism, the Anointing of the Sick, and Confirmation. Additionally, Sacred Chrism is used in the dedication of churches and altars.

“The Chrism will also be used to anoint the hands of Deacon Pedro Martinez when he is ordained to the priesthood for our diocese June 29,” the bishop added.

The tradition of using blessed oil dates back several centuries, said Deacon Don Warner, diocesan director of the Office of Liturgy and Worship.

“In the Old Testament, we see oil used to bless and consecrate the Israelites, kings, prophets, and the temple,” Dcn. Warner said in a 2015 NTC interview. “We see examples of anointings in the Book of Acts and in the writings of the Church fathers. This is a blessing that brings us back to our roots.”

The unity of the Catholic Church is also on display during the Chrism Mass, with priests throughout the diocese gathering to renew their vows to Jesus Christ and their fidelity to the local bishop.

“It will be a special opportunity for the priests of the diocese to come together safely and renew our promises of ordination,” Bishop Olson said.

Despite social gathering restrictions necessitating the Chrism Mass not be open to the public, parishioners may gain a greater appreciation of the unity of the Church even by viewing the Mass via livestream.

“As parishioners, we understand our membership in our parish, but we might not feel much connection to our diocese or the worldwide Church,” Dcn. Warner said. “The Chrism Mass can help us to make that connection. In this beautiful liturgy, the bishop is present with all his priests to bless oils which will be used in the celebration of the sacraments at every parish in the diocese. It’s a manifestation of the universal Church.”

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NTC Associate Editor Susan Moses contributed to this report.

Bishop Olson blesses Chrism

FORT WORTH — After weeks of stay-at-home orders and restrictions on public gatherings led to Holy Week liturgies being celebrated in front of empty pews in the Diocese of Fort Worth, Bishop Michael Olson has rescheduled the diocesan Chrism Mass for May 28 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Keller.

Published (until 5/7/2035)