There felt a special buzz around the Mass of Chrism as it returned after Covid lockdown.  Perhaps we all paid more attention to what was happening and thanked God that so many of our priests were there to take part.

The Archdiocesan choir, the St Mungo Singers, provided music as the congregation gathered,  including the much-loved O Sacred Head and settings of the Canticles from the Letter to the Philippians and the Letter to the Colossians,  and led the music of the liturgy

 In his homily, Archbishop Nolan reflected that it is the Eucharist that brings us together but the Covid pandemic had kept us apart, and this had been true for everyone including our priests.  Today this celebration of the Eucharist, he said, was bringing us back together again, and Covid has taught us that we are a society and in need of one another.

Priests understand this fact.  They are a team, a presbytery.  They would shortly be renewing the promises of commitment to service that they had made at ordination but in fact, he reminded the congregation, they renew these promises every day in word and action.  For them some days would be great but other days, the sun would not be shining.  How should we and they measure their success?  The Archbishop answered by quoting Mother Theresa “that we are asked not to be successful but to be faithful”.

As the priests then made their renewal of commitment to priestly service, there was almost a tangible feeling of community and support in the Cathedral.  The blessing of the holy oils followed, another step on the way back to a more normal life for the Archdiocese.

As the Mass ended, Archbishop and priests processed out to the strains of a hymn which has almost become an anthem for priests, whether at ordinations, Chrism Masses or funerals- Lord, You have come to the Seashore, a description of their calling.