There is a growing practice in the Church of visibly displaying the holy oils in an ambry and placing the ambry where they can be seen so that the faithful can better regard the significance of the oils in the Sacraments.

What is an ambry?

According to the Catholic Culture dictionary, an ambry is “a box in which the holy oils are kept in Catholic churches. It is either affixed to the wall or inserted in the wall of the sanctuary.”

The ambry, sometimes called an aumbry is often located near the baptismal font especially in churches with a distinct Baptistery.

What type of oils are kept in the ambry?

The oils that are generally kept in the ambry are the sacred oils, known as Olea Sancta in Latin and used in sacraments— Oil of Catechumens (oleum catechumenorum indicated by the Latin letters O.C.), Oil of the Sick (oleum infirmorum, O.I.), and Sacred Chrism (sacrum chrisma, S.C.) for anointing the sick.

Saint Patrick Catholic Church Doesn’t Have a Ambry

During a meeting of the Pastoral Team in January 2016, Father Jerry Graham, S.J. noted that Saint Patrick Catholic Church did not have an ambry.  The team of Jesuit priests— Father Tom Lamanna, S. J. and Father Fuchs, S.J. along with Kevin Lovejoy, Pastoral Coordinator and the staff team made the decision to pursue the addition of an ambry to be installed before Holy Thursday Mass.  At that very same gathering Kim Ward, Pastoral Assistant for Faith Formation shared that her husband Todd Ward, had a love of woodworking and that he might be interested in the project.


Ora Et Labora

The Latin phrase ora et labora— pray and work or “pray and labor,” in direct Latin translation refers to the practice of working and praying.  The ambry was a labor of love in prayer and work for Todd Ward.IMG_26191

Todd was very excited about the opportunity to create an ambry for Saint Patrick Catholic Church and rendered the schematic for the ambry for review by the priests the next day.

Todd has served the parish in many ways during his time as a parishioner— from Pastoral Council member to Facilities Advisor.  He has even made a beautiful round wood table for the Good Shepherd work in the atrium so this seemed like a natural progression.

The Oils are Blessed at the Chrism Mass

On the morning of Holy Thursday or a morning near Holy Week that works best for the parishes in the diocese, the bishops gathers with priests from all over the diocese for the Chrism Mass where he blesses the oils for use in sacramental celebrations throughout the coming year.

The Chrism Mass for the Seattle Archdiocese was celebrated by Archbishop Sartain on March 17, 2016 at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Washington.  Hundreds gathered from all over Western Washington.

The Archbishop blessed the oils in large containers at the Chrism Mass, then they were poured into smaller vessels and prepared for distributed by the Deacons and brought back to all the parishes of the archdiocese by the priest or a designated representative.

The Blessing of the Ambry

During the Holy Thursday Mass at Saint Patrick Catholic Church on March 24, 2016, Father Tom Lamanna, S.J. with Deacon Bill Eckert blessed the new ambry created and installed by parishioner Todd Ward, husband of Kim Ward, Pastoral Assistant for Faith Formation before placing the sacred oils inside.

Service and Devotion is Recognized

Thank you Todd Ward for generously sharing your talents with Saint Patrick Catholic Church.  The progression of Todd’s work in creating the ambry is documented through photos.

There is a growing practice in the Church of visibly displaying the holy oils in an ambry and placing the ambry where…

Posted by Saint Patrick Catholic Church on Wednesday, March 23, 2016