Diocesan News

Ask the Register: "oil stock"?

Q. During a recent baptism, the priests showed us what he called an “oil stock” and said there are three oils used in Catholic sacraments. What is an oil stock and what are the three oils?

A. Great question, thanks for asking it. An oil stock is usually a small, cylindrical vessel that holds the three blessed oils which are used in three of the Catholic Church’s seven sacraments. 

The oil stock ordinarily is comprised of three separate parts, each about the size of a person’s thumb, in which the three respective oils are poured. Many priests will place a cotton swab inside each part in order to absorb the oils for their application in the sacraments.

The three oils are the Oil of Catechumens, used only in the sacrament of Baptism; Sacred Chrism, which is used for many things in the Church, primarily the three sacraments which confer a permanent effect called a character on our souls — Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders; and the Oil of the Infirmed, used exclusively in the Sacrament of the Sick.

All three oils are comprised largely of olive oil.

The Oil of Catechumens and Oil of the Infirmed are blessed by the local Catholic bishop during the Mass of Chrism during Holy Week, and Sacred Chrism is consecrated during the same Mass. After that Mass, each priest receives a small vial of each oil for the celebration of the sacraments on the local level, in parishes, hospitals nursing homes, etc.

I know many priests are very good at explaining the meaning and use of these oils during the celebration of the sacraments.

This question was answered by a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln. Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd., Suite 10, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.

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