It dates back to the early church, when the bishop consecrated holy oils used during the sacraments for the rest of the year, and the ritual remains much the same.
Priests that attend get enough sacred oil for the whole year, including for the anointing of the sick, the oil of catechumens — which is for those preparing to be baptized — and the chrism oil, which is consecrated and used for baptism, confirmation and holy orders.
Fr. Dan Belanger, CSV, pastor of St. George and St. Mary’s parishes in Beaverville, attended the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet, with Fr. John Peeters, CSV, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Kankakee.
As part of the tradition-filled Mass, they also publicly renewed their priestly promises. The consecration of the chrism oils recalls its use in each priest’s own ordination to the priesthood, making this Chrism Mass a celebration of the priesthood for both priests and the people they serve.
“It’s an opportunity,” Fr. John Peeters says, “to gather with our bishop and the priests of the diocese — to celebrate our ministry together.”