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RITES OF THE BLESSING OF OILS

Consecrating the Chrism


INTRODUCTION 

1. The bishop is to be considered as the high priest of his flock. The life in Christ of his faithful is in some way derived and dependent upon the bishop. 

The chrism Mass is one of the principal expressions of the fullness of the bishop’s priesthood and signifies the close unity of the priests with him. During the Mass, which he concelebrates with priests from various sections of the diocese, the bishop consecrates the chrism and blesses the other oils. The newly baptized are anointed and confirmed with the chrism consecrated by the bishop. Catechumens are prepared and disposed for baptism with the second oil. And the sick are anointed in their illness with the third oil. 

2. The Christian liturgy has assimilated this Old Testament usage of anointing kings, priests, and prophets with consecratory oil because the name of Christ, whom they prefigured, means “the anointed of the Lord.”  

Chrism is a sign: by baptism Christians are plunged into the paschal mystery of Christ; they die with him, are buried with him, and rise with him; they are sharers in his royal and prophetic priesthood. By confirmation Christians receive the spiritual anointing of the Spirit who is given to them.

By the oil of catechumens the effect of the baptismal exorcisms is extended. Before they go to the font of life to be reborn the candidates for baptism are strengthened to renounce sin and the devil.

By the use of the oil of the sick, to which Saint James is a witness, the sick receive a remedy for the illness of mind and body, so that they may have strength to bear suffering and resist evil and obtain the forgiveness of sins. 

I. The Oils 

3. The matter proper for the sacraments is olive oil or, according to circumstances, other plant oil.

4. Chrism is made of oil and perfumes or other sweet smelling matter. 

5. The preparation of the chrism may take place privately before the rite of consecration or may be done by the bishop during the liturgical service. 

II. The Minister

6. The consecration of the chrism belongs to the bishop alone. 

7. If the use of the oil of catechumens is retained by the conferences of bishops, it is blessed by the bishop with the other oils during the chrism Mass.

In the case of the baptism of adults, however, priests have the faculty to bless the oil of catechumens before the anointing in the designated stage of the catechumenate.

8. The oil used for anointing the sick must be blessed for this purpose by the bishop or by a priest who has this faculty, either from the law or by special concession of the Apostolic See. 

The law itself permits the following to bless the oil of the sick: 

(a) those whom the law equates with diocesan bishops; 

(b) in case of true necessity, any priest. 

III. Time of Blessing

9. The blessing of the oil and the consecration of the chrism are ordinarily celebrated by the bishop at the chrism Mass celebrated on Holy Thursday morning. 

10. If it is difficult for the clergy and people to assemble with the bishop on Holy Thursday morning, the blessing may be held on an earlier day, near Easter, with the celebration of the proper chrism Mass. 

IV. Place of the Blessing in the Mass

11. According to the tradition of the Latin liturgy, the blessing of the oil of the sick takes place before the end of the Eucharistic prayer, the blessing of the oil of catechumens and the consecration of the chrism, after communion. 

12. For pastoral reasons, however, the entire rite of blessing may be celebrated after the liturgy of the word, according to the order described below. 

BLESSING OF OILS AND CONSECRATION OF THE CHRISM 

PREPARATIONS 

13. For the blessing of oils the following preparations are made in addition to what is needed for Mass: 

In the sacristy or other appropriate place: 

—vessels of oils; 

—balsam or perfume for the preparation of the chrism if the bishop wishes to mix the chrism during the liturgical service; 

—bread, wine, and water for Mass, which are carried with the oils before the preparation of the gifts. 

In the sanctuary: 

—table for the vessels of oil, placed so that the people may see the entire rite easily and take part in it; 

—chair for the bishop, if the blessing takes place in front of the altar. 

RITE OF BLESSING

14. The chrism Mass is always concelebrated. It is desirable that there be some priests from the various sections of the diocese among the priests who concelebrate with the bishop and are his witnesses and the co-workers in the ministry of the holy chrism. 

15. The preparation of the bishops, the concelebrants, and other ministers, their entrance into the church, and everything from the beginning of Mass until the end of the liturgy of the word take place as indicated in the rite of concelebration. The deacons who take part in the blessing of oils walk ahead of the concelebrating priests to the altar. 

16. After the renewal of commitment to priestly service the deacons and ministers appointed to carry the oils or, in their absence, some priests and ministers together with the faithful who will carry the bread, wine, and water, go in procession to the sacristy or other place where the oils and other offerings have been prepared. Returning to the altar, they follow this order: first the minister carrying the vessel of balsam, if the bishop wishes to prepare the chrism, then the minister with the vessel for the oil of the catechumens, if it is to be blessed, the minister with the vessel for the oil of the sick, lastly a deacon or priest carrying the oil for the chrism. The ministers who carry the bread, wine, and water for the celebration of the Eucharist follow them. 

17. During the procession through the church, the choir leads the singing of the hymn “O Redeemer” or some other appropriate song, in place of the offertory song. 

18. When the procession comes to the altar or the chair, the bishop receives the gifts. The deacon who carries the vessel of oil for the chrism shows it to the bishop, saying in a loud voice: The oil for the holy chrism. The bishop takes the vessel and gives it to one of the assisting deacons to place on the table. The same is done by those who carry the vessels for the oil of the sick and the oil of the catechumens. The first says: The oil of the sick; the second says: The oil of catechumens. The bishop takes the vessels in the same way, and the ministers place them on the table. 

19. Then the Mass continues, as in the rite of concelebration, until the end of the Eucharistic prayer, unless the entire rite of blessing takes place immediately (see no. 12). In this case everything is done as described below (see no. 26). 

BLESSING OF THE OIL OF THE SICK

20. Before the bishop says Through Christ our Lord you give us all these gifts in Eucharistic Prayer I, or the doxology Through him in the other Eucharistic prayers, the one who carried the vessel for oil of the sick brings it to the altar and holds it in front of the bishop while he blesses the oil. The bishop says or sings this prayer: 

Lord God, loving Father, you bring healing to the sick through your Son Jesus Christ. Hear us as we pray to you in faith, and send the Holy Spirit, man’s Helper and Friend, upon this oil, which nature has provided to serve the needs of men.

May your blessing + come upon all who are anointed with this oil, that they may be freed from pain and illness and made well again in body, mind, and soul. Father, may this oil be blessed for our use in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (who lives and reigns with you forever and ever. Amen.) 

The conclusion Who lives and reigns with you is said only when this blessing takes place outside the Eucharistic prayer. 

When Eucharistic Prayer I is used, the beginning of the prayer Through Christ our Lord! You give us all these gifts is changed to: Through whom you give us all these gifts. 

After the blessing, the vessel with the oil of the sick is returned to its place, and the Mass continues until the communion rite is completed. 

BLESSING OF THE OIL OF CATECHUMENS           

21. After the prayer after communion, the ministers place the oils to be blessed on a table suitably located in the center of the sanctuary. The concelebrating priests stand around the bishop on either side, in a semicircle, and the other ministers stand behind him. The bishop then blesses the oil of catechumens, if it is to be blessed, and consecrates the chrism.            

22. When everything is ready, the bishop faces the people, and with his hands extended, sings or says the following prayer:                            

Lord God, protector of all who believe in you, bless + this oil at and give wisdom and strength to all who are anointed with it in reparation for their baptism. Bring them to a deeper understanding of the gospel, help them to accept the challenge of Christian living, and lead them to the joy of new birth in the family of your Church. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.       

CONSECRATION OF THE CHRISM

23. Then the bishop pours the balsam or perfume in the oil and mixes the chrism in silence, unless this was done beforehand.            

24. After this he signs or says the invitation:     

Let us pray that God our almighty Father so that all who are anointed with it may be inwardly transformed and come to share in eternal salvation.

25.Then the bishop may breathe over the opening of the vessel of chrism. With his hands extended, he sings or says one of the following consecratory prayers.                                       

Consecratory Prayer (A) 

God our maker, source of all growth in holiness, accept the joyful thanks and praise we offer in the name of your Church. In the beginning, at your command, the earth produced fruit-bearing trees.

From the fruit of the olive tree you have provided us with oil for holy chrism. The prophet David sang of the life and joy that the oil would bring us in the sacraments of your love.  

After the avenging flood, the dove returning to Noah with an olive branch announced your gift of peace. This was a sign of a greater gift to come. Now the waters of baptism wash away the sins of men, and by the anointing with olive oil you make us radiant with your joy.

At your command, Aaron was washed with water, and your servant Moses, his brother, anointed him priest. This too foreshadowed greater things to come. After your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, asked John for baptism in the waters of Jordan, you sent the Spirit upon him in the form of a dove and by the witness of your own voice you declared him to be your only, well-beloved Son. In this you clearly fulfilled the prophecy of David, that Christ would be anointed with the oil of gladness beyond his fellow men.  

All the concelebrants extend their right hands toward the chrism, without saying anything, until the end of the prayer. 

And so, Father, we ask you to bless + this oil you have created. Fill it with the power of your Holy Spirit through Christ your Son. It is from him that chrism takes its name and with chrism you have anointed for yourself priests and kings, prophets and martyrs. 

Or:

Consecratory Prayer (B) 

Make this chrism a sign of life and salvation for those who are to be born again in the waters of baptism. Wash away the evil they have inherited from sinful Adam, and when they are anointed with this holy oil make them temples of your glory, radiant with the goodness of life that has its source in you. 

Through this sign of chrism grant them royal, priestly, and prophetic honor, and clothe them with incorruption. Let this be indeed the chrism of salvation for those who will be born again of water and the Holy Spirit. May they come to share eternal life in the glory of your kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Father, we thank you for the gifts you have given us in your love: we thank you for the life itself and for the sacraments that strengthen it and give it fuller meaning. 

In the Old Covenant you gave your people a glimpse of the power of this holy oil and when the fullness of time had come you brought that mystery to perfection in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. 

By his suffering, dying, and rising to life he saved the human race. He sent your Spirit to fill the Church with every gift needed to complete your saving work. 

From that time forward, through the sign of holy chrism, you dispense your life and love to men. By anointing them with the Spirit, you strengthen all who have been reborn in baptism. Through that anointing you transform them into the likeness of Christ your Son and give them a share in his royal, priestly, and prophetic work. 

All the concelebrants extend their right hands toward the chrism, without saying anything, until the end of the prayer. 

And so, Father, by the power of your love, make this mixture of oil and perfume a sign and source + of your blessing. Pour out the gifts of your Holy Spirit on our brothers and sisters who will be anointed with it. Let the splendor of holiness shine on the world from every place and thing signed with this oil.

Above all, Father, we pray that through this sign of your anointing you will grant increase to your Church until it reaches the eternal glory where you, Father, will be the all in all, together with Christ your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen. 

26. When the entire rite of blessing of oils is to be celebrated after the liturgy of the word, at the end of the renewal of commitment to priestly service the bishop goes with the concelebrants to the table where the blessing of the oil of the sick and of the oil of the chrism are to take place, and everything is done as described above (nos. 20-25). 

27. After the final blessing of the Mass, the bishop puts incense in the censer, and the procession to the sacristy is arranged. 

The blessed oils are carried by the ministers immediately after the cross, and the choir and people sing some verses of the hymn “O Redeemer” or some other appropriate song. 

28. In the sacristy the bishop may instruct the priests about the reverent use and safe custody of the holy oils.  

 

 
 

Prayerbook

A Catholic Religious Site

"A Collage of Catholic Information"

SUBJECTS