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Diocese Prepares for Annual Chrism Mass

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On Monday of Holy Week, Diocesan Director of Liturgy Gerard Hall and four volunteers at Sacred Heart Cathedral loaded a van with vessels and other items needed for the celebration of the annual Chrism Mass. In order to accommodate the large attendance expected, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge will celebrate the Chrism Mass this year at St. Thomas More Church in Chapel Hill on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, at 2:00 pm.

The Mass is a gathering of representatives from every parish in the Diocese, during which the holy oils are blessed. They include the oil of catechumens for adult catechumens and infants in preparation for baptism, the oil of the sick and the oil of Chrism for post-baptismal anointing, confirmation, the ordination of priests and the consecration of altars. The Sacred Chrism can only be consecrated by the Bishop. Since it is not possible for the Bishop to baptize and confirm everyone in his Diocese, he is symbolically present in the Chrism used by priests and deacons. Containers of the holy oils are given to the representatives of each parish at the conclusion of the celebration.

The Chrism Mass has also become a special Mass at which time the priests who serve with the bishop renew their commitment to join with him in the ministry of the Gospel. On Palm Sunday the Bishop urged the faithful of the Diocese to “attend the Chrism Mass if at all possible,” adding, “It provides you an opportunity to support your priests as they renew their ordination promises in a public and formal way.”

Above: Diocesan Seminarian Michael Burbeck, Mrs. Karen Foote, and Diocesan Director of Worship Gerard Hall packing Chrism Mass vessels and related accessories for transfer from Sacred Heart Cathedral to St. Thomas More Church in Chapel Hill for Tuesday’s Mass.

Below: Oil packed for transfer to Chapel Hill for Diocesan Chrism Mass.