The Archdiocesan Chrism Mass took place on 18 April at St. Andrew’s Cathedral It was a beautiful Spring day and the
cathedral was full for the Mass which was concelebrated by Archbishop Tartaglia with Archbishop Emeritus Conti and priests of the Diocese. The congregation included representatives of the religious orders and members of the Knights of St. Columba as well as students from local schools.
The music of the Mass was supported by the St Mungo Singers who provided a wide range of music as the congregation gathered, ranging from Bach’s O Sacred Head, through Handel’s Lord, I trust Thee and Wild Goose’s setting of the Benedictus to the lovely modern setting of Psalm 26 by Tim Mannion. Additional music came from Dr. Noel Donnelly on harp.
The Chrism Mass is richly layered with the Renewal of Commitment to Priestly Service by the priests of the diocese set after the Liturgy of the Word and the Blessing of the Holy Oils set at the commencement of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and this was reflected in Archbishop Tartaglia’s homily.
Firstly he welcomed everyone to what he described as a unique and very special service and thanked the priests present for their service to their people. He expressed his gratitude for their spiritual courage, faith and hope in what were difficult times, and invited them to keep their eyes focussed on their mission and the Lord. Their renewal of their promises was particularly poignant at this time and he invited the congregation to pray for them.
Turning to the second aspect of the Chrism Mass, the blessing of the oils, the Archbishop drew attention to the Gospel reading where Jesus reads from the scroll of Isaiah. Jesus’ actions of blessing and healing resulted from his anointing with the Holy Spirit. The linking of this blessing of the holy oils for use in the sacraments with the renewal of promises is no accident, he said, as the celebration of the sacraments is the privilege and joy of the priest.