This past Monday, I was lucky enough to attend my diocese's Chrism Mass at the cathedral. I was honored to be invited to such an important Mass, and I'm thankful to my priest who invited everyone on the parish pastoral council to go. Apparently, only about 5 or 6 tickets were given out to each parish in the diocese. The cathedral itself was packed, and I wasn't totally sure what to expect. At the Chrism Mass (which typically takes place on Holy Thursday, but may be moved to a day earlier in Holy Week if necessary), the holy oils and chrism that will be used for the sacraments of Baptism, Anointing of the Sick, and Confirmation are blessed by the bishop, and then are distributed to all the priests to bring back to their parishes to use for the year, starting with the Easter Vigil when the catechumens receive their sacraments.
What really shocked me was how many priests and deacons were around for this great liturgy. Priests from all over the diocese were in attendance, as were deacons and seminarians. I also couldn't get over the amount of young people who were among the ordained priests. It made me hopeful for the future, along with the many young faces I saw among the seminarians. I am truly thankful for these men choosing to do God's will and truly thankful for their priestly vocation. It was truly awe-inspiring to see all the priests surround the altar, well over 150 of them total, and it was transcendent to hear them all chant the Per Ipsum together in a chorus.
Another interesting part was seeing the bishop pour the basalm, that is, the liquid that produces the fragrant aroma we smell in chrism, into the oil, and mix it on the altar before baptizing it. It was just so interesting to see all this happen, something I really didn't know about until my pastor invited me a couple weeks ago. I love how our Catholic faith is so rich, and there are so many different things to behold and learn about. For instance, the next day, I went to the local Byzantine Catholic church for the Liturgy of the Presanctified, and joined everyone in full body prostrations to our Lord at several points through the liturgy. Maybe I'm just a Catholic nerd, but I love this! The traditions and the styles of worship in our Catholic Church are simply amazing. Below are some pictures from the Chrism Mass. You'll see for yourself just how many priests were in attendance!