His Eminence Vincent Nichols, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, celebrated the Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Westminster at 12pm on Tuesday 15 April. The Mass was concelebrated by H.E. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Auxiliary Bishops John Arnold and John Sherrington and over 300 priests, with deacons, seminarians and parishioners from across the Diocese.
In his homily, Cardinal Vincent spoke of the ‘overriding emotion’ of joy in the hearts of the priests gathered, from knowing Christ and ‘being heralds of the message of His unfailing love to the world’. The Cardinal then went on to speak of how joy is the rallying call of Pope Francis:
‘He has summed it up in a single phrase: “The Joy of the Gospel”, the title of his Exhortation addressed to us all. He writes: 'The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew.'
Reflecting on the renewal of priestly vows that all the priests make as part of the Mass, the Cardinal spoke of friendship and camaraderie among the ‘family of the priesthood’:
‘Today in our turn, we renew our priestly promises to Christ and, in consequence, we make promises to each other: we promise to be present and attentive to one another, beyond the circles of friendships, beyond the scope of working circumstances, to be faithful to each other simply because it is the same joy that springs up in the heart of each of us, because we love the same Lord and want to serve him. In this we are indeed brothers; we are indeed his family.’
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.
For photographs of the Chrism Mass click here