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'Quick Help' Page: Holy Oils/Holy Chrism

 

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Related Terms...

Holy Oil | Holy Oils

Use of Holy Oil | Use of Holy Oils

Holy Chrism

Use of Holy Chrism

Olive Oil

Balm

Sacraments

Blessings

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Arrow Question / Issue:

Please explain about how Holy Oils & Holy Chrism are traditionally used. When are they used?

 

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According to the Baltimore Catechism... (emphasis added)

Q. What is holy chrism?

A. Holy chrism is a mixture of olive-oil and balm, consecrated by the bishop.

Q. What do the oil and balm in Holy Chrism signify?

A. In Holy Chrism, the oil signifies strength, and the balm signifies the freedom from corruption and the sweetness which virtue must give to our lives.

Q. How many holy oils are used in the Church?

Three holy oils are used in the Church, namely, the oil of the sick, the oil of the catechumens, and holy chrism.

Q. What constitutes the difference between these oils?

A. The form of prayer or blessing alone constitutes the difference between these oils; for they are all olive oil, but in the Holy Chrism, balm is mixed with the oil.

Q. When and by whom are the holy oils blessed?

A. The holy oils are blessed at the Mass on Holy Thursday by the bishop, who alone has the right to bless them. After the blessing they are distributed to the priest of the diocese, who must then burn what remains of the old oils and use the newly blessed oils for the coming year.

Q. For what are the holy oils used?

A. The holy oils are used as follows: The oil of the sick is used for Extreme Unction [Anointing of the Sick] and for some blessings; the oil of catechumens is used for Baptism and Holy Orders. Holy Chrism is used at Confirmation and for the blessing of some sacred things, such as altars, chalices, church bells, etc., which are usually blessed by a bishop.


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Sacramentals (Topic Page)

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