PHOENIX — Over 150 priests from throughout the Diocese of Phoenix flocked to Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral on Monday evening for the annual Chrism Mass with Bishop John P. Dolan presiding for the first time. The annual Mass draws a crowd to witness the bishop blessing the oils that will be used throughout the year in sacramental celebrations such as Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders.
Deacons, alongside their wives and many other lay Catholics, were also on hand to watch as priests of the diocese reaffirmed their commitment to priestly service, doing so for the first time with Bishop Dolan who was installed in the Phoenix Diocese Aug. 2, 2022.
One of the highlights of the liturgy takes place when the bishop breathes over the glass container that holds the Chrism, symbolizing the Holy Spirit coming down to consecrate the oil that will be used in administering sacraments.
The tradition of the Chrism Mass dates to the year 200 AD. In smaller dioceses, it is traditionally celebrated on Holy Thursday, but with a territory spanning 44,000 square miles, in the Diocese of Phoenix it occurs on the Monday of Holy Week.