Order for the Reception of the Holy Oils

Preamble by the USCCB Secretariat of Divine Worship

"The reception of the Holy Oils may take place in individual parishes either before the celebration of the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper or at another time that seems more appropriate."
Roman Missal, Chrism Mass, no. 15

The above rubric, included in the Roman Missal, Third Edition, does not specify how a "reception of the Holy Oils" would take place. The Church, therefore, permits pastors some latitude in determining the best way for it to be carried out in their parishes, should they wish to do so. A simple ceremony that is sober yet joyful, consistent with the Roman liturgy, and emphasizing the grace of the sacraments and unity with the bishop, would seem to be the most appropriate way to receive the oils in a parish.

One possible model is found in the Order for the Reception of the Holy Oils, which was confirmed by the Holy See for optional use in the dioceses of the United States in 1989.


1.  It is appropriate that the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens, and the holy Chrism which are blessed by the Bishop during the Chrism Mass be presented to and received by the local parish community.

2.  The presentation of the holy Oils may take place at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday or, if the Oils are not blessed on Holy Thursday, on another day.

3.  The oils should be reserved in a suitable repository in the presbyterium or near the baptismal font.

Reception of the Holy Oils

4.  The Oils, in suitable vessels, are carried in the Entrance Procession by ministers or other persons. The vessels of oil are placed on a table which has been prepared for them in the sanctuary. The Priest may incense the Oils after he has incensed the altar.

5.  After the Greeting of the Mass the Priest may briefly explain the significance of the blessing of the Oils and their use. The Oils are then placed in the repository where they are to be reserved and the Mass continues in the usual manner.

6.  The following, or other words, may be used to explain the significance of the Oils:

Oil of the Sick

This Oil of the Sick has been blessed by our Bishop
for the healing of body, mind, and soul.
May the sick, who are anointed with it,
experience the compassion of Christ and his saving love.

Oil of Catechumens

This Oil of Catechumens has been blessed by our Bishop
for the anointing of those preparing for Baptism.
Through this anointing they are strengthened by Christ
to resist the power of Satan and reject evil in all its forms,
as they prepare for the saving waters of Baptism.

Holy Chrism

This holy Chrism, a mixture of olive oil and perfume,
has been consecrated by our Bishop and the Priests of our Diocese.
It will be used to anoint infants after Baptism,
those who are to be confirmed,
Bishops and Priests at their Ordination,
and altars and churches at the time of their dedication.

© 1988 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.