O Redemptor: Chant for the Chrism Mass

Holy OilIt was my privilege this year to attend the Chrism Mass at Detroit’s Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday.  It’s at that Mass, on the day on which the Lord instituted the priesthood, that priests of the Archdiocese renew their commitment to priestly service.

Also during that Mass, the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of the Catechumens and the Sacred Chrism are each presented to the Archbishop and blessed.  As each oil is processed to the Archbishop, the choir sings the beautiful O Redemptor.

Here are the English-language lyrics to that timeless hymn which is sung in churches around the world on Holy Thursday.  Below is a beautiful rendition in Latin.


O Redeemer, hear our singing
as we praise you with one voice.

Sunlight makes the olives fruitful,
From the fruit the oil is pressed;
Savior of the generations,
Now we bring it to be blessed.

In your kindness, King immortal,
Consecrate this olive oil;
May it be a sign and safeguard
And the schemes of Satan foil.

May all people, men and women,
Through this Chrism be made new,
That the wound to their first glory
May be healed, O Lord, by you.

When our minds are cleansed by water,
Let our sins be put to flight;
When our foreheads are anointed,
May we share your Spirit’s might.

Born of love of God the Father,
Dwelling in the Virgin’s womb,
Give us light who share this Chrism;
Close the door of death’s dark tomb.

May we keep this feast forever
As a holy day of days;
May our hearts grow never weary
As we sing its fitting praise.

Holy Oil image:  By Jonathunder (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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