Oil of Catechumens
by Paul Turner

  A priest or deacon in the Catholic Church may anoint anyone before baptism with the oil of catechumens.

The custom began in the early church. Those preparing for baptism were anointed with oil as a seal.  The oil "sealed in" the formation they had receive and "sealed out" the influence of the devil. 

In some parts of the world, those preparing for baptism
stripped naked and were anointed with oil from head
to toe. This imitated the anointing of athletes before
they entered combat. 

In the church, the anointing and its prayers strengthened those preparing for baptism to overcome Satan with the power that comes from Christ alone.

Eventually, bishops began blessing this oil for it
sacred use. The blessing set the ointment aside for religious purposes. The ritual took place on the morning of Holy Thursday each year, the last day the bishop
celebrated Mass during Lent. Oils could then be used
for the initiation rites at Easter that week.

Today unbaptized adults or children of catechetical age may be anointed with the oil of catechumens any time or several times during their formation. 

They become catechumens at the rite of acceptance and remain catechumens until the rite of election, six weeks before they are baptized. 

When infants are baptized, they may be anointed with the oil of catechumens during the ceremony.  The oil of catechumens is sometimes kept in a container marked "O.S.," for oleum sanctum or "holy oil.  It is olive oil, but any vegetable oil may be used. 

The bishop blesses this oil at the chrism Mass each year but if the parish needs an additional supply, a priest may bless more at any time.

1. The Oil of Catechumens is used after or before BaptismAfter
2. Which is correct in ancient times?Oil was used to keep a person healthy
Oil was used on athletes
Oil was used as decoration and odor control
3. What does this oil of Catechumen do? Mark the best answer.Marked the person as part of the community
Made them a new creature in Christ
strengthened those preparing for baptism to overcome Satan
Let the person know that baptism was near
4. Who blesses the Oil of Catechumens?Priest
Lay teacher leading those to be baptized
Eucharistic Minister
5. Who may be anointed with this oil?Only the sick
Anyone in need
Only a previously baptized person
6. When does an unbaptized person become a catechumen?When he accepts Christ as peronsal Lord and Savior
When he talks with a clergyman
When he goes through the rite of Welcome
When the rite of Acceptance takes place
When the pastor greets the person
7. When is this Oil of Catechumens usually blessed?First Sunday of Lent
During Advent
Easter Vigil
Chrism Mass
Christmas Vigil at midnight
8. What type of oil is usedAnimal fat
Any oil
Vegtable oil
Only oil from the Holy Land
9. What is usually marked on the container of Oil of Catechumens?OC... Oil of Catechumes
HO... Holy Oil
OS... Oleum Sanctum
OJC... Oleum Jesu Christe
Oil of the Catechumens
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