On Wednesday evening of this Passion Week, we prayed the Rite of the Lamp at the Mother of the Light Convent, Dartmouth M.A. Father Nicholas a priest from the Fall River Diocese celebrated the prayer service for us. The Chedid family from Our Lady of Purgatory, New Bedford joined us in prayer. The prayers comprise of hymns, litanies, lighting of the wicks of the lamp, prayers of the blessing of oil (by a priest), a prayer to the Holy Spirit and the anointing of the faithful with this oil.
Below are some remarks made about the Rite of the Lamp found in the Liturgical text:
- A ball of dough with seven wicks inserted into it to be prepared in a plate. Next to it there is a vessel filled with oil. The wicks represent the seven lamps envisioned by the prophet Jeremiah and by John in Revelation. The oil is to be blessed by the celebrant and then poured over the seven wicks.
- At the conclusion of the Rite of the Lamp, the priest dips a cotton swab in the oil and in the form of a cross, anoints the forehead of the members of the community saying, “For the forgiveness of your sins and faults, and for the healing of your body and soul.”
- The purpose of the Rite of the Lamp is to plead the Lord to receive the contrition (sorrow) of the faithful repentant and to grant health to the sick.
- This Rite is administered by the Eastern Churches and it is neither obligatory nor necessary.
- It is a simple blessing given by a priest.
- The Rite is administered to the members of a community, the sick and the healthy.
- It highlights the need for us, as we remember the Passion, “of healing of our body and soul” through the oil blessed by the priest himself on this occasion. The community as a whole is anointed. The whole community feels the need of healing “in body and soul”. While the oil is for the healing of the body, repentance and contrition of heart are the oil of the soul.