About 200 priests turn out for Chrism Mass


Cardinal Robert W. McElroy greeted the priests who concelebrated the diocese's annual Chrism Mass on March 21, 2024, at Good Shepherd Church.

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SAN DIEGO — The diocese celebrated the annual Chrism Mass on March 21. For the first, three auxiliary bishops greeted each each of the 200 or so priests that turned out to Good Shepherd Church.

Cardinal Robert W. McElroy presided over the annual liturgy, which celebrates the institution of the ministerial priesthood at the Last Supper and provides the occasion for the blessing of oils that will be used in sacramental celebrations throughout the year.

The concelebrants included Auxiliary Bishops Ramón Bejarano, Michael Pham and Felipe Pulido, as well as about 200 priests from across the diocese.

After the cardinal’s homily, the priests publicly renewed the promises that they made on the day of their priestly ordination.

Cardinal McElroy later blessed the oil of the sick, which is used in the sacrament of anointing of the sick, and the oil of the catechumens, which is used as a preparation for baptism. He also consecrated the holy chrism, pouring a cruet of balsam into an urn of olive oil and praying over it with his hands extended.

Chrism, from which the Mass derives its name, is a perfumed oil used to anoint the newly baptized, to sign those who are to be confirmed, to anoint the hands of priests and the heads of bishops at their ordinations, and to dedicate churches and altars.

Representatives from each parish in the diocese received an allotment of the holy oils, which will be solemnly presented to the celebrant at each parish’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. The oils will be used at the Easter Vigil for baptisms and confirmations and throughout the year

The priests, some who had traveled from the Imperial Valley, joyously greeted each other the Mass outside of the church, under bright sunny skies.

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