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CURRENT ISSUE:  April 25, 2011
VOL. 49, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
 
Carnival introduces kids to college at Saint Mary’s
 
Order of Malta group making annual pilgrimage to Lourdes
Chrism Mass: Consecration
by oils sets faithful apart
 

Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone raises the censer over the Chrism oils.
José Luis Aguirre photos

The annual Chrism Mass, in which the oil used to anoint Christ’s faithful is blessed and consecrated, took place at the Cathedral of Christ the Light on April 14.

Annually around Easter, parishes bring olive oil to the Chrism Mass, where it is specially blessed by the bishop and used in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and other functions.

Here are some excerpts from Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone’s homily at the Chrism Mass:
 
Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone with deacons Alexander Quiros-Castillo (standing) and Edilberto Castañas.
José Luis Aguirre photo
An anointed people
“In its most literal, sacred meaning, ‘anoint’ signifies a consecration with oil, that is, a particular rite in which a person or thing is set apart for a sacred purpose. As Jesus’ very title, “Christ,” indicates, he is “the anointed one,” and so those anointed in the Church’s prescribed rites are in some way consecrated to and for him. In the biblical mindset, ‘anointed’ is a word linked with preaching and hearing, designating an interior enlightening to know God’s Word and a strengthening to follow it.”

A priestly people

“All of Christ’s people are anointed with Chrism in their rite of initiation into the Church. Infants at their Baptism are anointed with this consecrated oil on the crown of their head, signifying that they now claim Christ as their King. This, though, is a precursor to the anointing in the Sacrament of Confirmation which, along with the Holy Eucharist, completes initiation into the Church.”

Set apart

“As a priestly people, then, God has set us apart, not over others, but for others. We are set apart for the sanctification of the world. In the Gospel, our Lord makes clear what this means: he is anointed ‘to bring glad tidings to the poor . . . to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.’ As members of his Body, the Church, we are anointed by him, and for him, to be his messengers of healing, teaching and enlightening, in word and, especially, by example. If we are to be a priestly people, we must first be sanctified by Christ, so that we may be a people who sanctify others. We are anointed to preach and to hear. We must first hear: hear God’s Word, know God’s Word, so that he, who is God’s definitive communication to us — His final Word, a Word of mercy, forgiveness and life — may enlighten our minds to know him, and strengthen our hearts to follow him.”

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