The Chrism Mass, the annual commemoration of sacramental unity and priestly commitment that unfolds across the universal Church each Holy Week, will take place locally April 3, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold.

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., principal celebrant and homilist, will welcome the priests of the Diocese, whom the Bishop will call upon to renew their promises and recommit themselves to their priestly service and vocation.

The Bishop will also bless the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens, and will consecrate the Sacred Chrism that will be used throughout the coming year in the Diocese’s 97 parishes located in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

The Oil of the Sick is used to anoint the sick, bringing strength, comfort and forgiveness to those in need. The Oil of the Catechumens is blessed to strengthen those preparing for Baptism to avoid sin and grow in their faith. A catechumen is one who is preparing for Baptism in the Catholic Church. The Sacred Chrism is used for Baptism; Confirmation; Ordination of priests and bishops, and the consecration of altars and churches.

Following the Mass, the oils and Sacred Chrism will be distributed to parish representatives in attendance, who will carry them back to their faith communities.

Parishioners of the Diocese are invited to attend the Chrism Mass in the Co-Cathedral.  Those who cannot take part in person are encouraged to watch the livestream on 

The tradition of the Chrism Mass dates back centuries to the early Church and had been part of the evening Mass celebrated on Holy Thursday. As part of his 1955 liturgical reforms, Pope Pius XII called for a separate Chrism Mass, apart from the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Now the Chrism Mass continues to be celebrated by bishops in cathedrals throughout the world during Holy Week.

St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral is located at 61 Georgia Rd., Freehold.