As the oils are blessed, we recall that we share in the anointing, healing, and ministry that flow from these oils as they are used in the sacraments of faith.
The oils signify the universal charisms of the Church for healing (Oil of the Sick), faith building (Oil of the Catechumens), and consecration (Chrism). The Oil of the Sick is used for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. The priest lays hands on the sick or elderly person, says special prayers, and anoints the person by placing oil in the form of a cross on the forehead and hands.
The Oil of Catechumens is a protective oil, used to anoint both adults and infants before baptism. The prayer at the anointing for adults is that God will instill them with the wisdom for discernment and the strength to avoid evil during their inquiry into the Catholic faith. For infants, the prayer is to help ward off evil, avoid temptation, and possess the faith necessary to carry the cross of Christ throughout life.
Anointing with Chrism (the perfumed oil) signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is used to consecrate someone or something to God’s service. It is used in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. Chrism is the anointing oil used in the consecration of a church, the blessing of an altar, and the vessels used at Mass.
All Catholics have been anointed in the common priesthood of believers. The ordained have been consecrated at their ordination to carry out the sacramental ministry of the Church. It is within this context that the Bishop, as the shepherd of the diocese, calls upon the clergy to renew their commitment to priestly service.