Vatican City: April 13, 2017. (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated the Chrism Mass of the Rome diocese on the morning of Holy Thursday in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The liturgy is held every year in every diocese, and is typically celebrated on the morning of Holy Thursday, with the clergy gathered around the bishop in a sign of unity.
It is called the “Chrism Mass” because it is during the liturgy that the sacred oils to be used in the Sacraments are blessed: the Oil of the Infirm, the Oil of the Catechumens, and the Sacred Chrism – which is used to anoint the newly baptized and in conferring Confirmation, and to consecrate priests and bishops to their special and peculiar divine service.
In his homily, Pope Francis spoke of the truth, mercy, and joy of the Gospel, which each priest is called to witness with his whole life: embodying and personifying each of the three characteristics.
“The truth of the good news can never be merely abstract, incapable of taking concrete shape in people’s lives because they feel more comfortable seeing it printed in books,” Pope Francis said.
“The mercy of the good news can never be a false commiseration, one that leaves sinners in their misery without holding out a hand to lift them up and help them take a step in the direction of change,” he continued.
“This message,” the Holy Father went on to say, “can never be gloomy or indifferent, for it expresses a joy that is completely personal – it is ‘the joy of the Father, who desires that none of his little ones be lost’,” and “the joy of Jesus, who sees that the poor have the good news preached to them, and that the little ones go out to preach the message in turn.”