Chrism Mass: The Symbols and Their Meaning

March 26, 2024 | Archdiocese of New Orleans Communications Office

by Communications | Archdiocese of New Orleans
Blessing of Holy Oils
The Chrism Mass is held during Holy Week in every Catholic (arch)diocese. In New Orleans, it is traditionally held on the Tuesday of Holy Week. During this mass, the priests, deacons and representatives of the entire archdiocesan community gather around the Archbishop, who blesses the Holy Oils for use in the coming year.
These are:

  • Oil of the Sick
  • Oil of Catechumens
  • Sacred Chrism

Whenever the Holy Oils are used in a diocese, the ministry of the bishop who consecrated them is symbolically present.

Unity, Renewal of Vows and Promises
The Chrism Mass reminds us of our oneness in Christ through Baptism and its holy anointing, made possible by the ministry of the archbishop and his priests. The Chrism Mass is also a key moment in which the unity of the archbishop with his priests (together, they form the presbyterate) is manifested and renewed. During the liturgy, the entire assembly is called to renew its baptismal promises; deacons and priests also renew their vow of obedience to the local (arch)bishop and their commitment to serve God’s people. At the end of the Chrism Mass, the Holy Oils are brought back to parishes of the archdiocese for use in the coming year.

 

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