By Ivy Chai
KUCHING — The Chrism Mass which the Bishop of every Diocese traditionally concelebrates with his priests throughout the Diocese on Holy Thursday, was live-streamed from St Joseph’s Cathedral on 29 October this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic MCO shutdown had caused all celebration of Masses in Churches for Holy Week, to be postponed.
Why “Chrism Mass”? The word ‘chrism’ is derived from the Greek word ‘khrisma’ which means ‘anointing’. During this Mass, the Holy Oils of the Chrism, the Sick and Catechumens are blessed.
The Oils of Catechumens and the Chrism are used for the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Order, while the Oil of the Sick is used for the Anointing of the Sick.
During this celebration, priests also renew their commitment made at their ordinations. The pandemic has however limited the presence of priests this year. Less than 20 people were present, representing the lay faithful, religious, bishops and priests. All others had to “attend online”.
Archbishop Simon Poh apologised to Catechumens who were scheduled to be baptised, but once again faced postponement when Kuching was again declared a red zone area for COVID-19. He reassured them that every parish will complete the RCIA rites when it becomes possible.
The prelate explained the significance of the Holy Oils and said that by our Baptism and Confirmation, we are all anointed as God’s priestly, prophetic and kingly people. We have been given a mission.
“In the face of COVID-19, let us be confident that our Lord, who has called and anointed us has a purpose, and is still with us until the end of time. Let us be a witness to Jesus and speak out his Gospel teachings with courage and faith empowered by the Holy Spirit,” he said.
Archbishop Simon thanked everyone for their prayers for him and all priests. “The spirit of the Lord has been given to us; He has anointed us and sent us for mission. Let us be confident,” he added, concluding the Mass with his customary invoking of God’s blessings on everyone.