(Editor’s Note: Catholic Communications reporter Sharon Roulier attended the Chrism Mass on March 29 at St. Michael’s Cathedral. You can read her story on Wednesday on www.iobserve.org and watch highlights of it on “Real to Reel” on Saturday, April 3 at 7 p.m. on WWLP-TV22. )
Almost 1,000 people gathered at St. Michael’s Cathedral for the annual Chrism Mass. The Mass is one of the largest annual gatherings of clergy and faithful in the diocese. At it, the priests renew the commitments they made at their ordination.
And the three holy oils, are presented.
The Oil for the Holy Chrism:
The Sacred Chrism is consecrated and all the priests present participate in the moment by extending their hands toward the vessel as the bishop says the prayer of consecration.
The Chrism is used at the ordination of priests and bishops, baptisms, confirmations, the consecration of altars and the blessing of churches.
As part of the consecration of the Chrism, balsam is poured into the oil, which gives it a sweet smell intended to remind those who encounter it of the “odor of sanctity.”
The Oil of the Sick:
This oil is used when administering the Sacrament of the Sick. If is for those who seek anointing for illness or when they are near death.
The Oil of the Catechumens:
This oil is imposed on those preparing for baptism. This oil and the Oil of the Sick are blessed. The Sacred Chrism is consecrated.
Most of those attending the Mass were people who participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and teens from diocesan Confirmation programs.
Behind the scenes, volunteers from Cathedral High School and St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Springfield helped out in the Holy Spirit Chapel. Under the direction of Father Jack Sheaffer, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, the young people filled the cruets and other containers with the holy oils that will be used in the parishes throughout the year.
In addition to the young helpers, a dedicated crew made this spectacular celebration possible.
Msgr. Christopher D. Connelly of St. Michael Cathedral Parish organized the event with the help of Father Gary Dailey, diocesan director of vocations, and Deacons Tom Callahan and Leo Coughlin. Many others arrived at one in the afternoon, including Sisters of St. Joseph Margaret McNaughton and Eileen Sullivan from St. Michael Cathedral Parish. Also lending a hand to carry 49 chairs from the Holy Spirit Chapel to the cathedral were: Tucker Moran, Paul Evans, Una Trudell, sacristan, and Jessica Hill from the Office of Worship. The diocesan seminarians assisted with the clean-up and more moving of furniture!
It was a proud and happy night for the diocese.