Priests, religious and deacons from across the diocese joined a socially distanced congregation at the Cathedral for the celebration on Tuesday March 30. Welcoming those present and those joining online, Bishop Alan said:
“How good it is that for the very first time in a year now we’ve been able to come together as a Diocese…We renew today our unity with each other and with the Church throughout the world, expressed in the blessing of the oils.”
In his homily, the Bishop began by referring to the aggressive secularism in the West and its effort to destroy Christianity, with its emphasis on faith and reason, and values which had been the foundation of our civilisation for millennia.
“The secularists would build a new civilisation,” said the Bishop. “It would be based on the foundation of relativism. They would replace all objective truth with subjective truth, that is, my truth.”
Although this posed a huge challenge for the Church, he said, the apostles had also experienced aggressive opposition to the Gospel, and had persevered, knowing that the Lord was truly risen, and that His promise to them was sure: I am with you always, to the end of the time.
“The oils are powerful signs of the Lord’s presence working with us today,” said the Bishop. “First, the oil of catechumens, with which the Lord prepares us for our vocation to be His witnesses. Second, the oil of the sick…with which the Lord helps us never to lose our faith and trust in Him. Third, the oil of chrism, used… so that we can be like Christ the priest in offering our lives to God, like Christ the prophet in witnessing to God’s truth in our society and like Christ the King to humbly serve others.”
The Bishop concluded by thanking the deacons for their witness of service, and his brother priests for living out their vocation so generously. “May each of us,” he said, “encounter the Risen Lord as we celebrate the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection this week, and know His abiding presence with us.”
You can see a Flickr gallery of the Chrism Mass here:
Pictured above is Bishop Alan blessing the oils at the Chrism Mass at St John’s Cathedral