Chrism Mass celebrated at the start of Holy Week in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon

Representatives of parishes, ministries and groups brought up the oils to be blessed by the bishop during the Chrism Mass April 11 in the diocese of Saskatoon, including Fr. Colin Roy of St. Augustine Parish, Humboldt and Sr. Marta Piano of the Verbum Dei Sisters, who brought up the oil to be blessed as Sacred Chrism. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

Priests and parishioners from across the diocese joined Bishop Mark Hagemoen in a joyful celebration of the Mass of Chrism April 11 at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon.

After two years when COVID-19 pandemic restrictions meant altered and much smaller celebrations, the 2022 Chrism Mass brought back a number of long-standing diocesan traditions – such as freely welcoming all those who wish to attend the special diocesan Mass, without restriction; as well as a return to the ministry of the large Diocesan Choir with representation from parishes across the diocese (directed by Shaun Bzdel); and a Chrism banquet traditionally held before the start of the Mass of Chrism in the diocese of Saskatoon.

In brief remarks at the banquet and later in his homily, Bishop Mark Hagemoen expressed his joy at the ability to return to a more “normal” celebration.

He noted that Chrism Mass 2022 comes at a moment in history that includes the lingering effects of a pandemic that has brought death, illness and suffering, and has polarized society and families, as well as the once-unthinkable situation of another war in Europe with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At the same time, Hagemoen pointed to new energy and creativity to be found in recent signs of hope, such as the Synod that is being undertaken by parishes and groups across the diocese, and the recent heartfelt apology to the Indigenous delegation at the Vatican by Pope Francis.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen – Chrism Mass 2022 Homily (PDF)

Related: “Holy Week looking more familiar across Canada” – LINK

Related: Easter weekend schedule for Saskatoon parishes – LINK

During the Chrism Mass, priests from across the diocese renewed their commitment to priestly ministry, and those assembled joined in prayer for the priests and the bishop.

The Oil of the Sick, Oil of Catechumens, and Sacred Chrism oil for use in the celebration of sacraments throughout the year were also blessed by Bishop Hagemoen during the annual Chrism Mass.

The Sacred Oils:

Oil of Catechumens (OC): This oil, sometimes referred to as Oil of Salvation, is used to anoint the catechumens (those who are to be baptized) in preparation for their initiation into the Church. The prayer accompanying this anointing expresses the desire that Christ strengthen the person being anointed. This oil is also used in celebration of the baptism of children. It is a sign of belonging:  marking us as members of the Body of Christ.

Oil of the Sick (OS): This oil is used in the Anointing of the Sick. The prayer accompanying this anointing is: “Through this holy anointing, may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.” This oil is used to bring comfort and support to the sick in their infirmity. The celebrating of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is a ritual moment that makes visible and present to the sick and to the whole community who we are as Church: a community of healing and support.

Sacred Chrism (SC): This oil includes a sweet-smelling perfume or balsam, added during the blessing prayers at the Chrism Mass. Sacred Chrism is used at the celebration of baptism, confirmation, the ordination of priests and bishops, and for the dedication of churches and altars. Sacred Chrism is also used in the blessing of bells and sacred vessels. Anointing with this oil signifies abundance of grace and dedicated service to God. The word Christ means “anointed one,” so being anointed with oil is a sign of the special and strengthening presence of Christ, the Anointed One.

Ordination milestone anniversaries acknowledged:

As well, during a banquet before Mass, the bishop acknowledged priests marking milestone anniversaries of ordination in 2022, including:

  • 25 years (Fr. Phong Pham, Fr. Kevin McGee and Fr. Roman Wrocławski, S.Chr.);
  • 30 years (Fr. Richard Meidl, OSB);
  • 40 years (Fr. Eugene Warneke, OMI);
  • 45 years (Fr. Don Hamel)
  • 50 years (Fr. Ken Forster, OMI)
  • 55 years (Fr. Emil April)
  • 60 years (Fr. André Poiliévre)
  • 65 years (Fr. George Gruber, OMI)

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