Bishop Robert Deeley will celebrate the annual Chrism Mass, one of the most solemn liturgies of the Catholic Church, on Tuesday, April 4 at 3 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. Because of the demand to attend the Mass, tickets are distributed to parishioners through their local parish at no cost. The Mass will also be livestreamed at www.portlandcatholic.org/livestreamed-liturgies.
At the Chrism Mass, 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, priestly ordinations, 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 and hospitals 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.
The next night, on Wednesday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m., Bishop Deeley will celebrate the Mass of the Oils at St. Mary of the Visitation Church, located on 110 Military Street in Houlton. All are welcome. The Mass of the Oils includes the distribution of the blessed and consecrated oils to parishes located in northern and eastern Maine. It also offers the opportunity for the priests who gather to renew their commitment to priestly service as well.
Following the Mass of the Holy Oils, the bishop will return to the Cathedral in Portland for the Holy Thursday Celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper (7 p.m.), the Celebration of Our Lord’s Passion on Good Friday (7 p.m.), the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday (8 p.m.), and the celebration of the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday (10 a.m.). All the Masses and services at the Cathedral will also be livestreamed at www.portlandcatholic.org/livestreamed-liturgies.
A special Holy Week section includes Mass times and locations at all Maine parishes, listings of parish events, daily prayers and reflections, and many other resources. In addition, stories from many Masses and services and special messages throughout Holy Week will be posted on the diocesan website, the diocesan Facebook page, the diocesan Twitter page, the diocesan Instagram page, and on Bishop Deeley’s personal social media pages on Twitter and Instagram.