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KOTA KINABALU – On an evening in March 2018 across the arch/dioceses of Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, and Keningau, the arch/bishops will gather with their priests, seminarians and deacons, consecrated religious and lay faithful to celebrate the Chrism Mass where two important things take place: the priests publicly renew their priestly promises before their bishops, and the Oils of Catechumens and the Sick are blessed and the Holy Chrism is consecrated.
Traditionally the Chrism Mass is celebrated on the morning of Holy Thursday. However, it has been a practice here to have the rite moved to an earlier day close to Easter as it is difficult for many of the priests to be at the cathedral with their bishops in the morning and in their parishes in the evening of Holy Thursday.
The Chrism Mass, which the bishop concelebrates with his presbyterium with the blessing of the oils, manifests the communion of the priests with their bishop in the same priesthood and ministry of Christ.
In his homily at the Chrism Mass celebrated at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing on 22 Mar 2018, Archbishop John Wong highlighted the common mission and priesthood of the church, ordained and lay: “… to be faithful witnesses in the world to the salvation Christ won for all mankind” (Collect).
In a unique way, Chrism Mass focuses on the ordained priesthood of the bishops and priests which is manifested in the renewal of commitment to priestly service after the homily to “be faithful servants of the mysteries of God, to celebrate the Eucharist and the other liturgical services” (Rite of Renewal of Commitment to Priestly Service).
The oils were brought to the altar by Father Abel Madisang (Oil of the Sick), Father Postinus Kurup (Oil of the Catechumens), and Father Florian Marcus (Oil of Chrism).
After the Mass, Msgr Primus Jouil blessed the oils brought by the faithful.
Chrism Mass is, in effect, one of the most beautiful Masses in the Church’s repertory as it represents the Church in miniature and benefits the entire diocese. In a sense, this is a Mass of Holy Orders as well as of the Holy Oils.
The Chrism Mass will be celebrated at St Mary Sandakan Mar 23 and at Katedral St Francis Xavier Keningau on Mar 27.