‘Be accompaniers of the people entrusted to you and be discerners of the promptings of the Holy Spirit among them,’ Cardinal Vincent told priests of the diocese at the Chrism Mass celebrated at Westminster Cathedral on 11th April 2017.
‘Let that call, and the dedication and generosity of time it requires of us, the prayerfulness of life it presupposes within each of us, be powerfully in our hearts,’ he added, just ahead of the renewal of priestly promises.
The Cardinal emphasised that ‘the work of Salvation, costing nothing less than the precious body and blood of Christ himself, is done for the sake of the entire world. That is the focus of our mission: not our own safety or salvation, but that of every person, in every time and in every place.’
In the words of the renewal of promises, priests resolve ‘to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more closely conformed to him’ in fulfilling the ‘sacred duties towards Christ’s Church’.
Immediately following, the Holy Oils are blessed. The Oil of the Sick was presented by the medical team of the Lourdes pilgrimage; the Oil of Catechumens by two catechumens preparing for Baptism at Easter; and the Oil of Chrism by a Confirmation candidate and a deacon preparing for Ordination to the priesthood.
With the Chrism Mass, the Church enters the holiest days of the year, when ‘we stand at the threshold, ready to step gratefully into the mystery of faith, the vast landscape of the great plan of God for our human family,’ said the Cardinal.
‘We know that all of this takes place out of the aching love of God, who longs that his people find their way home, to him, with their wounds bandaged up, their burdens laid down, their sins forgiven and a shout of exaltation on their lips. This love of the Father has no limits. It is for everyone. Its landscape embraces our whole world.’
‘And, in this great work, God our loving Father calls for our help, our cooperation, the effort of each one of us,’ he said. The Oil of Chrism is the ‘powerful sign’ that we all have a part to play in fulfilling God’s plan, as it is the oil used for anointing in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders.
Concelebrating the Mass were Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, Bishops John Sherrington, Nicholas Hudson, Paul McAleenan, John Wilson, Bishop Mark Jabalé, and hundreds of priests from the diocese. Many of the faithful had come from every part of the diocese to pray for and with their priests, filling the cathedral to capacity.
The full text of the homily is available here.
Additional photos from the Mass are available here.