Vatican City – In a mass marking the first of a series of traditional rituals leading to Easter, Pope Benedict XVI blessed holy oils which will be used in Catholic sacraments, including baptisms, confirmations and last rites for the dying, m&c news reports.
In his Holy Thursday homily at St Peter’s Basilica, he said that while Christians are referred to as God’s ‘anointed ones,’ they should demonstrate this in the way they conduct their lives. ‘Let us allow these holy oils, which are consecrated at this time, remind us of the task that is implicit in the word ‘Christian,’ let us pray that, increasingly, we may not only be called Christian, but may actually be such,’ Benedict said.
By way of an example, the pontiff chose his predecessor John Paul II whose beatification – the penultimate step in the process of sainthood – is due next month. ‘When Pope John Paul II is beatified on May 1, we shall think of him, with hearts full of thankfulness, as a great witness to God and to Jesus Christ in our day, as a man filled with the Holy Spirit,’ Benedict said. On Thursday evening, the 84-year-old pontiff is to perform the traditional foot-washing ceremony which commemorates the same gesture carried out by Jesus Christ before his Last Supper.