PORTLAND---Bishop Robert P. Deeley will celebrate the annual Chrism Mass, one of the most solemn liturgies of the Catholic Church, on Tuesday, April 16, at 5:45 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on 307 Congress Street in Portland. Because of the demand to attend the Mass, tickets are distributed to parishioners through their local parish at no cost.
At the Chrism Mass, in the presence of priests, deacons, religious and laity from throughout the diocese, Bishop Deeley will bless the oil of the sick and the oil of the catechumens, and he will consecrate the sacred Chrism. The oil of the sick is used to anoint the sick, bringing God’s health, strength, and forgiveness to those in need. The oil of the catechumens is blessed to strengthen those preparing for baptism to resist sin and to grow in faith. A catechumen is one who is preparing for baptism in the Catholic Church. The sacred Chrism is used for baptism, confirmation, ordination of priests, and the consecration of altars and churches.
Bishop Deeley will consecrate the sacred chrism after adding a balsam fragrance and blowing over the urn, signs of the Holy Spirit. Bishops are the only ordained ministers who can consecrate chrism, although they do so in union with the priests who are present.
During the Mass, these oils, which will be used throughout the year, will be distributed to a representative number of priests and their parishioners, symbolizing all of the parishes in the Diocese of Portland that will receive newly blessed oils.
The Chrism Mass is also an opportunity for the priests of the diocese to renew their commitment to priestly service. As they did during their ordinations, they will voice their resolve to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and the other liturgical rites and to discharge faithfully the sacred office of teaching, following Christ the Head and Shepherd.
On Wednesday, April 17, at 6:30 p.m., Bishop Deeley will celebrate the Mass of the Oils at St. Louis Church on 26 East Main Street in Fort Kent. The Mass of the Oils includes the distribution of the blessed and consecrated oils to parishes located in northern Maine. It also offers the opportunity for the priests who gather to renew their promises as well. Bishop Deeley celebrates this Mass with the deacons, religious, and lay faithful from that area.
A special Holy Week section is available on the Diocese of Portland website that includes Mass times at all Maine parishes, listings of parish events, daily prayers and reflections, and many other resources.