This article was updated on April 17.
Blessing oils for the year is a traditional mark of Holy Week. The ritual takes place during the archdiocese’s Chrism Mass, this year April 10.
Faithful from around the archdiocese filled St. Mary Cathedral in Northwest Portland for the evening Mass. The archdiocese’s priests processed down the aisle as the cathedral choir sang and the pipe organ played.
Peter Laughlin looked on the priestly crowd, whose ranks he is on the path to joining. Laughlin is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Portland at Mount Angel Seminary.
“What strikes me most about the Chrism Mass is getting to see all the priests of the Archdiocese of Portland together in one place and seated around the archbishop.”
Laughlin was touched at seeing this image of the successor and apostles. The seminarian was one of the servers at the Mass last year. He still remembers being one of the last servers to leave the sanctuary, watching the line of priests processing down the aisle, circling around the archbishop and being sent forth to serve the church.
At this year’s Mass, Archbishop Alexander Sample spoke on the meaning of being Catholic and what makes a Catholic unique: profession of the same faith, sharing in the same sacraments, living under the same governance of the church and Communion.
“These four are truly visible and present for us here tonight in this Chrism Mass.”
At the conclusion of his homily, the archbishop walked to the foot of the altar. The crowd of priests stood at once and the archbishop led them through the renewal of their priestly promises.
The sight was special for those in attendance at the Mass.
“We come to celebrate all the priests renewing their vows,” said Megan Schuver, parishioner at Portland’s St. Rose of Lima Parish. “It’s our chance to be able to be a part of their ordination when we weren’t there on that day.”
While the sight of all of the archdiocese’s shepherds was impressive to witness, the night’s sacred tone continued with the blessing of the oils.
Each glass vessel of oil carefully was carried to the altar where the seated archbishop placed his hands on them. The archbishop said a prayer of consecration over each vessel before pouring a cruet of balsam perfume into the holy Chrism oil.
After the oils for catechumens, the infirm and the holy Chrism were blessed, they were distributed in small bottles to priests and representatives from each parish.