Samhain Thanksgiving Moon
Cards tonight. Sheepshead. Middling hands and a middling score. One great hand which let me reflect that you get the best score when the least skill is required.
More important. Bill talking about his journey after Regina’s death and Dick about the 13th of 35 radiation treatments to knock out some lingering prostate cancer cells.
At the end of the evening Dick produced a small vial with O.S. on a label. Oleum sanctorum*. An oil sanctified by the Archbishop for use in particular sacraments. He had each of us rub the oil on our hands, then rub that oil on his. He believes that illness tends to produce isolation, a turning away from community. What better then than holding hands? Even oily ones.
Yes, we play sheepshead. No, it’s not the most important thing that happens.
*On Holy Thursday morning (in some dioceses it may be another morning during Holy Week), the bishop, joined by the priests of the diocese, gather at the Cathedral to celebrate the Chrism Mass. This Mass manifests the unity of the priests with their bishop.
Here the bishop blesses three oils — the oil of catechumens (oleum catechumenorum or oleum sanctorum), the oil of the infirm (oleum infirmorum) and holy chrism (sacrum chrisma) — which will be used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the diocese for the year. This tradition is rooted in the early Church as noted in the Gelasian Sacramentary (named after Pope Gelasius I, d. 496), but was later absorbed into the Holy Thursday evening Mass; Pope Pius XII issued a new Ordinal for Holy Week, which reinstituted a special Mass of the chrism distinct from the evening Mass.