During Holy Week at special Chrism Masses in diocesan cathedrals and churches around the globe, oils to be used in the Sacramental life of the Church, are blessed and distributed to representatives to take back to their parishes and faith communities.
Chrism Masses were celebrated in the Archdiocese of Wellington and the Diocese of Palmerston North on 3 and 4 April.
Archbishop Paul Martin sm presided at the Masses for the parishes of the archdiocese’s lower North Island at St Teresa’s Pro-Cathedral in Karori and for parishes at the Top of the South Island, at St Mary’s Church Blenheim. The South Island area includes vast tracks of land stretching from Kaikōura across to Westport and up to Karamea, Takaka, Farewell Spit crossing over to Motueka, Richmond, Nelson and returning to Blenheim.
Archbishop Paul explained in his homily, ‘Each of these oils will be prayed over by me, as Bishop and point of unity for our diocese, we will call upon God’s blessing on them, and they will then be collected by you, representing all the people of faith in our diocese from different parish and faith communities, and you will take them out to be used when people are baptised, confirmed, ordained and seeking healing. These are holy moments when God is made present and the oils are used to mark that. These are treasured and sacred signs of God’s presence with us.
‘This Chrism Mass calls us again to refocus on the promises we have made to be faithful children of God, to serve as his ministers, to receive his grace and strength through the Sacraments, captured in the presence of these holy oils. May we grow closer to God by what we do this night, and may we be witnesses and signs to the world of what it is to know and love the God who made us, the one who gives us life so that we might live it to the full, both now and for eternity.’
The Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Palmerston North was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit by Fr Craig Butler along with several other priests and Bishop Peter Cullinane, who gave the homily and blessed the oils.
Bishop Peter said that Holy Week is a privileged time in which to deepen our relationship with Jesus, by conversing with Jesus about his experience of it. He explained how the oils are blessed in the cathedral of every diocese at this time. ‘I invite you to notice the prayers that the Church prays for those who will be anointed with these oils.’