FALL RIVER — Members of the Diocese of Fall River are invited to the annual Chrism Mass to take place this year on Tuesday. March 26, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River at 4 p.m.

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., together with priests ministering in the Diocese -diocesan and religious, will celebrate this traditional Holy Week liturgy that includes the blessing of holy oils and the renewal of priestly promises.

The Chrism Mass is celebrated every year in cathedrals in dioceses all over the world during Holy Week. It is a special liturgy that manifests the unity of the bishop with the priests of his diocese, and the Church community as members of the Body of Christ.

“The holy oils are at the center of the Church’s [Chrism Mass] liturgy,” said Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, and the three different oils to be used in the sacramental life of the Diocese of Fall River throughout the year will be blessed by Bishop da Cunha in the context of the Mass. Oil is an ancient symbol of strengthening, healing, and preparation.

The Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens consist of olive oil and are blessed in the same way holy water is blessed. The Oil of the Sick is used for the anointing of all who are ill and in need of God’s healing; the Oil of the Catechumens is used for the anointing of infants, children and adults who are preparing for baptism.

The third oil is Sacred Chrism, the most eminent of the three and from which the Mass takes its name. It is olive oil mixed with balsam, and it will be consecrated by Bishop da Cunha during the Mass. Sacred Chrism is used in baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, and the dedication and blessing of churches and altars.

After the Mass, the oils will be distributed to all parishes in the Diocese for their use in furthering the mission of the Church in the year ahead.

The Chrism Mass is also a time for priests in the presence of the bishop and the lay faithful to renew the promises they made at their ordination; promises to conform their lives more closely to Christ, to be faithful stewards of the Eucharist and other liturgical rites, and to be faithful teachers of the faith. Bishop da Cunha will then ask the laity present at the Mass to pray for their priests as well as for him in his service as diocesan bishop, that he may be a more perfect image of Christ, the Good Shepherd, Teacher, and Servant.

St. Mary’s Cathedral is located at 327 Second Street at the corner of Spring Street in Fall River.

Diocese of Fall River
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