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Bishop leads annual Chrism Mass, attended by hundreds

Bishop Peter Collins led the annual Chrism Mass in Norwich, attended by hundreds, emphasising our baptismal calling and the sacredness of the holy oils.

In a significant ceremony on March 26, Bishop Peter Collins, the Bishop of East Anglia, led the annual Chrism Mass, attended by hundreds of clergy and laity from right across the diocese, gathered within the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Norwich. This celebration witnessed the blessing and distribution of the sacred oils – the Oil of Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick, and the Oil of Chrism.

In his homily, Bishop Peter delved into the essence of our baptismal calling, he said: “In his ‘Passover’, Christ opened our access to the fountain of grace through Baptism. Through our baptism, the foundation sacrament, we become an anointed people, a holy people.”

He then went on to say: “Michelangelo’s painting of the Creation of Man on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel leaves a space between the finger of the Creator and the finger of the creature. In Christ, Creation is brought to completion in the Redemption. What is unfulfilled in us is united to what is accomplished in Christ. In Christ, the words of the prophet Isaiah are fulfilled: ‘The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for the Lord has anointed me.’ In Christ, we are drawn into a purposeful mission: ‘To bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken, to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison, comfort to all those who mourn.’”

Addressing the clergy present, Bishop Peter underscored their sacred duties: “Priests are charged with nurturing a love for their bishop made manifest in faithful and generous obedience… My brothers, fidelity and obedience are fruits of humility.” He also elaborated on the significance of the holy oils, “The pre-baptismal anointing with the Oil of Catechumens signifies a cleansing and a strengthening… The post-baptismal anointing with Sacred Chrism, and its further reception in the Sacrament of Confirmation, enables the full ‘Profession’ of the faith of the Church… The anointing with Sacred Chrism at ordination is truly a sign of consecration, an intimacy shared through the bishop with Christ the High Priest… For those who are seriously ill there is the Anointing of the Sick, the healing touch that is imparted through an anointing on the forehead and hands.”

Following the Mass, people were invited to the Cathedral Narthex and gardens to enjoy hot cross buns.

You can read Bishop Peter’s full homily here.

See below for the full photo gallery.

Chrism Mass, St John's Cathedral, Norwich, March 2024