Prayers for all Occasions, Needs, and Intentions
RITES OF THE BLESSING OF OILS
Consecrating the Chrism
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
The matter proper for the sacraments is olive oil or, according to
circumstances, other plant oil.
Chrism is made of oil and perfumes or other sweet smelling matter.
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.
The consecration of the chrism belongs to the bishop alone.
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
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.
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.
law itself permits the following to bless the oil of the sick:
those whom the law equates with diocesan bishops;
in case of true necessity, any priest.
Time of Blessing
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
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.
Place of the Blessing in the Mass
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,
For pastoral reasons, however, the entire rite of blessing may be
celebrated after the liturgy of the word, according to the order described
OF OILS AND CONSECRATION OF THE CHRISM
For the blessing of oils the following preparations are made in addition
to what is needed for Mass:
the sacristy or other appropriate place:
or perfume for the preparation of the chrism if the bishop wishes to mix
the chrism during the liturgical service;
wine, and water for Mass, which are carried with the oils before the
preparation of the gifts.
for the vessels of oil, placed so that the people may see the entire rite
easily and take part in it;
for the bishop, if the blessing takes place in front of the altar.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
OF THE OIL OF THE SICK
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:
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.
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.)
conclusion Who lives and reigns with you is said only when this blessing
takes place outside the Eucharistic prayer.
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.
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.
OF THE OIL OF CATECHUMENS
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
When everything is ready, the bishop faces the people, and with his hands
extended, sings or says the following prayer:
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.
OF THE CHRISM
Then the bishop pours the balsam or perfume in the oil and mixes the
chrism in silence, unless this was done beforehand.
After this he signs or says the invitation:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
the concelebrants extend their right hands toward the chrism, without
saying anything, until the end of the prayer.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
After the final blessing of the Mass, the bishop puts incense in the
censer, and the procession to the sacristy is arranged.
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.
In the sacristy the bishop may instruct the priests about the reverent use
and safe custody of the holy oils.