The Chrism Mass for the Archdiocese of Glasgow was celebrated on Holy Thursday in St. Andrew’s Cathedral by Archbishop Tartaglia, together with Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti and a large attendance of priests from the diocese. It was good to see the cathedral full to capacity for the service with people standing at the back of the church and some of the congregation joining the St. Mungo Singers in the choir loft.
Before the Mass began, the choir sang a selection of liturgical music, including Handel’s “Lord, I trust Thee”, the Calvisius setting of “Veni, Sancte Spiritus”, Bach’s “O Sacred Head” and the Taizé “There is One Lord”. The last mentioned was sung in responsorial form and the congregation joined in Then, as the opening procession of clergy to the sanctuary commenced, the choir led the congregation in singing Bernadette Farrell’s “Christ, be our Light”.
The music of the Mass itself included: the plainsong Gloria and Pater Noster, Mgr. Gerry Fitzpatrick’s setting of the responsorial psalm (Ps. 88 sung by cantor Fran Archer), Noel Donnelly’s “Veni, Veni” as the oils were taken to the altar for blessing, the late Peter Aston’s very apposite motet “I give you a new commandment” and, as the recessional, Pam Murray’s “Go, spread my word”.
In a wide-ranging homily, Archbishop Tartaglia expressed firstly his sense of privilege to be celebrating the Chrism Mass with so many priests, religious and lay people (including representatives of the Knights of St. Columba and school pupils) from the diocese. He gave a particular welcome to those priests “in less than full health” who had made the effort to be present, and he asked the congregation to pray for the priests present at this Mass to renew their priestly commitment and to reconsecrate themselves to the service of their people.
He touched on the significance of the different oils which were blessed at the Mass for use in the sacraments, particularly the oil of Chrism – the oil of gladness – used in the sacraments which constitute the Church – baptism, confirmation and ordination.
Archbishop Tartaglia reminded the congregation that the Chrism Mass shows in a heightened way the communion of the local church which in turn gives birth to parish communities which is where the people of the diocese are. At this time of review and change within the diocese, he prayed for a share for himself of the pastoral wisdom of Archbishop Eyre, the first post-Reformation Archbishop of Glasgow whose pastoral staff he carried for this Chrism Mass. Addressing the priests present, he invited them to renew their commitment with joy and hope and to put themselves again at the service of the Lord and his Church.