Cardinal Vincent celebrated the Chrism Mass for the Diocese at the Cathedral on 31 March. The Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop Emeritus, Auxiliary Bishops John Sherrington and Nicholas Hudson and over 300 priests, with deacons, seminarians and parishioners from across the Diocese.
The theme of Cardinal Vincent’s homily was the mercy of God. He began by speaking about the consecration of the three oils in the Mass: the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of Chrism:
‘These oils are consecrated for the holiness of the world, for the holiness of every moment, from birth, through joy and sickness and unto death. Our whole ceremony this morning is best understood, not as the Church gathering to look to its own needs, but as coming to receive the strength and blessing of God so as to go out with God's mercy to the world’.
Reflecting on the gift of mercy, he described it as ‘not a message of cheap grace. Rather God’s mercy is our opportunity for repentance, the invitation to start again. Mercy is ultimately grace for conversion, the “time”, the “space” for healing, for new life’.
As part of the Mass, all of the priests present renewed the priestly vows taken at their ordination, ‘remembering that, in a particular way, ours is a ministry of mercy’.
The Chrism Mass sees the blessing of the three Holy Oils: the Oil of Catechumens, the Oil for the Sick and the Oil of Chrism which 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.
To read the Cardinal's homily, click HERE.
For more photos of the Mass, click HERE.