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placeholder How chrism oil
is made

'We're doing
something tonight
that is very,
very holy'

hymns part of
parish's Lenten

Children are the
theme of Catholic
Advocacy Day

Students learn
what a Rice Bowl
contribution can do

Summer Camps, Schools & Activities

Close games
cap CYO Boys
Basketball playoffs

Spectators cheering Girls' Volleyball championship

24 teams join for
girls eastern
basketball playoffs

Young Authors Faire provides a forum
for talented writers

Some cool summer school and camps

Senior Living
& Resources

New food truck
to help stem
senior hunger

Just for Seniors
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The 'Heart' of Mercy: Longtime volunteer honored

Senior Services

Activities planned around the diocese
for Fatima centennial


Sister Barbara Anderson, SL

Sister Evangela Balde, OP

Rev. Gene Wilson, CPPS

Help honor your outstanding

placeholder April 17, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 8    •   Oakland, CA

Rev. Alexander Castillo prepares the oils. See a video in English and Spanish at facebook.com/TheCatholicVoice.

How chrism oil is made

Like a diligent chef, Rev. Alexander Castillo prepares oil, destined to become Chrism, on March 29. Chrism — the holy oil used in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders — can only be consecrated by a bishop.

In the Diocese of Oakland, by tradition, the process to scent the oil to prepare it for its journey to the cathedral, and, for some, from there to the parishes, is the work of the masters of ceremonies and the Worship Office.

While the master of ceremonies may be better known for the role of rehearsing and ensuring that large, complex liturgies run smoothly, the making of the chrism also requires concentration and accuracy.

Olive oil, the fruit of trees planted at Mission San Jose, is the key ingredient in chrism, into which fragrances are mixed. The recipe changes slightly from year to year. This year's recipe included balsam, for its earthiness; and perfumed oils — including apple blossom, sweet pea and roses.

Led by Father Castillo, and assisted by Mark Hernbroth, Chris Silva and Deacon Christopher Wagner, SJ, the ingredients were measured and poured, pausing frequently to smell the mixture.

More than a dozen brown-glass bottles of essential oils lined their work table, as a series of measuring cups and devices, reserved just for this purpose, stood at the ready.

After the chrism was prepared, it was set aside to age.

Representatives of each parish bring clean vessels to be filled with the chrism for use in their parishes.

Chrism is made new each year. Any leftover oils are buried or burned. At the Cathedral Parish, they are burned in the Easter Vigil fire.

The Oil of the Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick and the Sacred Chrism are taken back to parishes for the celebration of the Sacraments.


'We're doing something tonight that is very, very holy'
Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ

Just as Jesus went into the synagogue preaching He had fulfilled the prophecy from Isaiah that "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor," so too Christians are anointed — with oil used in the sacraments.

It is the same today, "we are anointed with the same Spirit," said Very Rev. Jeremy Driscoll, abbot of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon, in his homily for the Chrism Mass April 8.

In the Mass today, Father Driscoll said, the bishop blesses the holy oils to be used in the diocese throughout the year, for Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination and Anointing of the Sick.

The oil is a sign that seals us, he said. "You have the spirit of the Lord because you are anointed."

Also during the Mass, two seminarians, Jose Arturo Bazan and Mario Rizzo, were called to Holy Orders, and the priests of the diocese renewed their vows. Singers from Moreau Catholic High School provided a musical prelude to Mass-goers, who filled the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

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