The annual Mass at which the sacred oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick and the oil of Chrism were blessed and distributed, was the largest diocesan gathering in the Cathedral since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic with around 600 people in attendance.
Scores of priests, religious and deacons joined a congregation drawn from right across the diocese on Tuesday, April 12.
In his homily, Bishop Alan said: “As the Church, we are journeying through this life together, making our way towards the Kingdom of Heaven and the vision of God that awaits us there. On this journey each of us is called to play our part, drawing on the gifts and graces of our own unique vocation. It is important that everyone is able to participate, to be heard and to contribute to the life and mission of the Church. For that is what our communion in the Church and our participation in her life must lead to – mission.
“The Holy Oils become powerful signs of the Lord’s presence among us. They, and the Sacraments in which they are used, speak of this vocation. They fill us with the strength to carry it out.”
Addressing the gathered priests and deacons, Bishop Alan said: “I want to thank all of you for living out your vocation so generously and for your loving care of God’s people in the church in East Anglia. I am very aware that the challenges and frustrations of the past year have made your ministry difficult. I also know just how weary many of you are feeling with all that is being demanded of us by the church and by the world.
“Thank you for responding to everything with such patience. We have to learn again and again to place our trust and hope in God in whom lies our real strength.
“Communion, Participation, Mission – the key words of the Synodal Journey that Pope Francis has called us to embark on, as a Church, as a Diocese, as a parish, the key elements of the life of the Church.
“May the Holy Spirit, who will infuse the Holy Oils today with his presence and strength, take us forward in our life and mission to live and proclaim Christ and his Gospel more faithfully.”