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Blessing of oils and renewal of promises: Chrism Mass 2016


Archbishop Timothy Costelloe blesses the holy oils during the 2016 Chrism Mass, held on 22 March at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan

By Marco Ceccarelli

As in previous years, the Chrism Mass hosted at St Mary’s Cathedral drew hundreds of people this year as clergy and laity renewed their promises of commitment to holiness of life and to service of the Church and society.

Held on Tuesday, 22 March, the Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe and concelebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey, Vicar General Fr Peter Whitely, Monsignor Brian O’Loughlin, Monsignor Michael Keating and numerous priests of the Archdiocese.

The Mass saw the blessing of three holy oils by Archbishop Costelloe to be used by clergy in the Sacraments of Confirmation, Ordination, Anointing of the Sick and Baptism throughout the year. These were the Oil of the Chrism, the Oil of the Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick.


The Oil of the Sick is brought to the altar during the Chrism Mass, held on Tuesday, 22 March 2016 at St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth. Photo: Ron Tan

Dwelling on the importance of the oils in his homily, Archbishop Costelloe recalled the recent ordinations to the priesthood of four deacons within our Archdiocese and drew attention to the anointing of the new priests’ hands.

“The Oil of Chrism which is consecrated during our Mass this evening is used for this anointing. The same oil, of course, is also used during Confirmation and during the celebration of our Baptism. In this way, the Church gives powerful expression to the centrality of the Sacraments of Initiation without which the ordained ministry makes no sense,” the Archbishop said.

Archbishop Costelloe went on to emphasise that the whole people of God, which included those present, are, through Baptism and Confirmation, consecrated as a priestly people, called to live sacrificial lives of love for others in accordance with the example left by Jesus Christ.

“What the priesthood of Jesus, in which we all share, reveals to us, is that the one real sacrifice pleasing to God is the sacrifice we make of ourselves in generous love for God and for God's people, in imitation of Jesus,” he said.

“Christian priesthood is not just lived out in the liturgy: it is lived out in the concrete, often mundane and always challenging reality of our daily lives,” he later added.

In the context of a Mass that also celebrated the gift of ordained priesthood – a gift which the Archdiocese of Perth has received in abundance – Archbishop Costelloe explained that the celebration was not about one group in particular, but about the Church as a whole: a priestly people.


The Oil of the Sick is brought to the altar during the Chrism Mass, held on Tuesday, 22 March 2016 at St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth. Photo: Ron Tan

He concluded by stating that this “wholeness” of the Church is a cause for rejoicing, “because, with a brother's love, the Lord chooses men from among our number, shapes and moulds them into the likeness of His own servant priesthood, and then returns them to us to be our servants who will journey with us and keep alive for us the Lord's presence as our Good Shepherd, the healer of our souls and our strength and nourishment along the way”.