Archbishop Vincent Nichols celebrated the annual Chrism Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday 3 April 2011 in the presence of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and over 300 priests and 1,000 people from the Diocese of Westminster.
The Chrism Mass sees the blessing of the three Holy Oils: the Oil of Catechumens, the Oil of the Blessing of the Sick and the Oil of Chrism. These are used during the sacraments. The blessing of the Holy Oils is one of the most ancient ceremonies in the Church. It is always celebrated in the Cathedral by the bishop surrounded by the priests, deacons, religious and lay people from his diocese.
During the Chrism Mass all priests made a renewal of their commitment to priestly service.
We are a consecrated people
In his homily, which you can listen to by clicking on the green 'Listen to Audio' button, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: 'Today we seek a profound renewal of all that makes us instruments of the Lord in our society today. So we approach this celebration with great humility. Here we are to receive the gifts we need if we are to fulfil the great invitation we have been given.'
'In the Opening Prayer of the Mass, we asked that by sharing in the consecration of Christ - a consecration in the Holy Spirit - we may become witnesses to his resurrection, to his new life, in our society today. This is our calling.'
'Chrism is the outward sign of that consecration. Chrism, the word which shapes the very title ‘Christ’, and indeed the word ‘Christian’, is at the heart of this ceremony, for in blessing and using chrism we are bound to Christ both in his life and in his mission. Through Chrism we are a consecrated people, set apart for a task: that of consecrating the world to God, through our prayer and through our witness.'