These two sections give the “red and black” on the anointing of catechumens. This rite has three parts: first, a prayer of exorcism (see RCIA 94); then the optional blessing of oil; and finally, the anointing itself. The rubrics read:
102. When anointing with oil already blessed by the bishop, the celebrant first says the prayer of exorcism given as option A (or one of the other prayers of exorcism in (RCIA) 94); a priest celebrant who for pastoral reasons chooses to bless oil for the rite uses the blessing given as option B.
Let us pray.
source of strength and defender of your people,
you have chosen to make this oil,
created by your hand,
an effective sign of your power.
Bless + this oil
and strengthen the catechumens who will be anointed with it.
Grant them your wisdom to understand the Gospel more deeply
and your strength to accept the challenges of Christian life.
Enable them to rejoice in baptism
and to partake of a new life in the Church
as true children of your family.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
103. Facing the catechumens, the celebrant says:
We anoint you with the oil of salvation
in the name of Christ our Savior.
May he strengthen you with his power,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
The celebrant anoints each catechumen with the oil of catechumens on the breast or on both hands or, if this seems desirable, even on other parts of the body.
(If there are a great many catechumens, additional priests or deacons may assist in the anointing.)
The anointing may be followed by a blessing of catechumens (RCIA 97).
In the blessing of oil, we see that line “created by your hand” in reference to the Church’s use of olive oil. Natural or God-made items are generally preferred for most of the Church’s sacraments and sacramentals.
As usual, the texts of the prayers point to a desired final result of this rite. Catechists should take note of this, and plan teaching accordingly. Homilists, too.