By Tim Harfmann
The celebration of the Chrism Mass is an annual tradition dating back centuries, and a liturgy when the Church’s holy oils are blessed. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio will pray over three oils used in the sacraments, with nearly every priest of the Brooklyn diocese extending their hands during the ceremony. Before the Mass, the Bishop DiMarzio described what the oils are used for. “The chrism for baptism, for confirmation, for the ordinations… the sacrament of the sick, oil of the sick…. and then the oil of catechumens to bring new people into the church.”
People in attendance will bring the oils back to their parishes, where the oils will be used throughout the year to administer the sacraments. The Chrism Mass is also the time for priests and deacons to renew their vows. Bishop DiMarzio will address them during the liturgy. In this year’s homily, the bishop plans to discuss the protection of minors in the midst of the Church’s sexual abuse struggles; “How we need to deal with [the crisis], and how important it is that we are honest, transparent and try to make sense out of what happened. Although it is something that’s wrong, you make sense out of something that’s wrong by looking at the positive efforts to make it better.”
Nearly 300 priests and hundreds of laypeople are expected to fill the pews of the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights.