Chrism Mass celebrated Oct. 8 in diocese of Saskatoon: usually held in Holy Week, the celebration was delayed by COVID-19 restrictions

Live-streaming of Mass in the diocese of Saskatoon is being regularly shared on websites and via social media as COVID-19 restrictions on worship gatherings continue. (File photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

Delayed by COVID-19, the 2020 Chrism Mass was finally celebrated Oct. 8 in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.

The annual celebration of the diocesan Mass of Chrism in Holy Week was one of the events disrupted by the shut down of public gatherings this spring because of measures implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The well-loved diocesan celebration includes Bishop Mark Hagemoen blessing the sacred oils used in sacraments to be taken back to parishes by representatives from across the diocese, as well as the renewal of priestly commitment by ordained priests in the diocese.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen blessed the sacred oils during the 2020 Chrism Mass. (Photos by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Although numbers were restricted, each parish was invited to have a representative present at the afternoon celebration of the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon. The celebration was also live-streamed, with the archived video also available for those who wish to join in the prayers of the Chrism Mass.

Parish representatives gathered at the Cathedral of the Holy Family Oct. 8 for the 2020 Mass of Chrism: distancing, masks and limited numbers meant the 2020 version of the diocesan celebration was much different than usual.


At the conclusion of the Chrism Mass, parish representatives came forward to receive the sacred oils, to take back for celebration of sacraments throughout the year. (Photos by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Live-stream video of Chrism Mass:


Bishop’s message:

Bishop Mark Hagemoen began his homily by reflecting on how different the worldwide context is for this year’s Chrism Mass, compared to the previous year’s celebration.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen – Chrism Mass homily PDF

The bishop expressed his thanks to all in the diocese: “I have felt and received much support from you as we carry out our priestly ministry in service of the mission of Jesus Christ and his Church for all the People of God – in a very challenging and extraordinary time.”

He added: “I continue to be inspired and invited to never underestimate the height, width and breadth of the life and mission of Jesus Christ, and how God’s people – with great faith, creativity, trust, and zeal, — inspire a Christ-like response to new challenges and situations.” Those challenges have included the unprecedented impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“The scriptures for our Chrism Mass are the same ones we use each year, yet, as I reflect on these – oh how they speak quite differently to me versus just a year and a half ago,” said Bishop Hagemoen. “I am amazed at how profoundly appropriate they are this year – especially now that we have just received what some are already calling the most defining and distinctive encyclical from Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti: “On Fraternity and Social Friendship.”

Priests from across the diocese gathered for the Chrism Mass, recommitting themselves to priestly service with a special blessing from the bishop. (Photos by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Bishop Hagemoen explored aspects of the new papal encyclical, reflected on the document from the perspective of the priesthood of Jesus Christ, shared by all the baptized and lived out in a particular way by those ordained for priestly ministry.

He pointed to a number of challenges raised by the papal encyclical, including calls for:

  • true care and support of the vulnerable,
  • absorbing the lesson of the Good Samaritan parable that “belief in God and the worship of God are not enougn to ensure that we are actually living in a way pleasing to God” (#74),
  • recognizing that “excellence” must be applied to moral development and what is best for others, to live out solidarity as a key feature of priestly service,
  • giving priority to closeness with the poor,
  • cultivating an attitude “gratuitousness,”
  • keeping “our feet on the ground,”
  • recognizing the need for change and ongoing conversion, and
  • priorizing forgiveness and reconciliation.

“I conclude with the cross of Christ – the means of our salvation; the bridge between God and humanity; between death and life: between darkness and light,” said Bishop Hagemoen. “The cross is the guide and hope for the world, and it is the cross of Christ that inspires and gides our reflection and renewal of following the Lord as Prophet, King and priest.”

Photo gallery – Preparation and Celebration of the Chrism Mass: