Sacred oils to be used for administration of sacraments at U.S. Military bases and VA Medical Centers over the coming year
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sacred oils for sacramental use over the coming year on U.S. military sites the world over—and in the nation’s VA Medical Centers—were blessed and consecrated Tuesday night at the annual Chrism Mass of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS).
Vested in white, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., raised hands over the silver urns at the foot of the altar in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He blessed the Oil of the Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick; and he mixed balsam with oil forming the chrism to be used at baptism, confirmation, and ordinations, breathing over the mixture as part of the consecration rite.
More than two dozen priests and U.S. Military Chaplains joined Auxiliary Bishops Richard B. Higgins, Neal J. Buckon, and Robert J. Coyle in concelebrating. They included Monsignor John J.M. Foster, J.C.D., AMS Vicar General; Father Christopher Armstrong,J.C.D., AMS Judicial Vicar; and Father Aidan Logan, O.S.C.O., AMS Vocations Director. Deacon Mike Yakir, AMS Chancellor, assisted, along with co-sponsored deacons and seminarians, before a congregation of 200.
Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy drove from Annapolis, Md., to attend, and cadets all the way from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., sang along with the Basilica Choir.
In his homily, Archbishop Broglio observed the symbolism of the oil:
“The symbolism is rich. The oil is pressed out from crushed olives, a fruit which very old trees continue to produce. It reminds us of the perpetual newness of divine life, even when it flows forth from ancient rites and in accord with centuries of tradition. The pressing also aptly describes the condition of ministry in the Archdiocese: a reduced number of priests striving to serve the same or an increased number of faithful. It describes well the ministry of my faithful Auxiliaries, and mine—ruled by airline timetables, distances, and commitments across the globe… We generate life in the Spirit. We allow the olive press to squeeze out the remaining invigorating drops of oil to glisten and gladden. Thus the relationship with almighty God is kept strong, and we, too, with the psalmist, will sing of the goodness of the Lord forever…” (Watch video of Archbishop Broglio’s homily.)
AMS staff have now begun shipping vials full of the consecrated chrism and blessed oils from the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center in Washington, D.C. to Catholic chaplains stationed around the world, where they will use them to administer sacraments.