Bishop Michael Smith presided at the Chrism Mass in the Cathedral of Christ the King on Wednesday 23 March 2016.
During the Mass, the priests renewed the promises they first made on the day they were ordained. The Diocese of Meath has 123 diocesan priests, most of whom are serving in our 69 parishes, schools and hospitals. A number of religious and missionary priests were also in attendance. Their ministry, witness and prayer enrich the life of the Church. The large congregation prayed with and for our priests that, during this Jubilee Year, they may be true missionaries of mercy.
In his homily, Bishop Smith encouraged people to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious. He referred in particular to an initiative of the Diocesan Vocations Committee which has arranged a vigil of prayer for vocations before the Altar of Repose in each parish on Holy Thursday night.
The Bishop also drew on the theme of mercy, highlighted in the Liturgy of the Word:
It is in the understanding that God walks with us in all our joys and struggles that we are invited to grow in the understanding of His mercy. He who walks with us is the God of mercy and compassion. He demonstrates his love and forgiveness by His presence with us, even when we have sinned. The heart of God is never closed to anyone, no matter how far we might seem from Him. When we find the grace to say “Lord be merciful to me, a sinner”, then we find our way, we discover who we are and who God is.
The vessels containing the Oils of Catechumens were presented to Bishop Smith for blessing. This holy oil will be used in all our parishes to baptise young children and adults in the coming months. The oils were carried forward by members of the diocesan youth team who will attend World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland later this year.
The Oil of the Sick bears a special significance during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Through the sacrament of anointing, the Lord imparts his merciful grace to those who are sick or burdened by old age. The Oil of the Sick was presented to the Bishop by seven lay people from the Diocese of Meath who each practise, in a voluntary or professional capacity, the seven Corporal Works of Mercy. These merciful deeds are at the core of the Church’s pastoral mission – to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead.
Clergy who are celebrating their 25th, 50th and 60th priestly jubilees this year presented the vessels with the Oil for the Sacred Chrism. Deacon Conor McGee, who will be anointed with the Sacred Chrism when he will be ordained to the priesthood during the summer, also joined the jubilee clergy in the procession. The same Chrism is used by the Bishop when he celebrates the Sacrament of Confirmation in our parishes.
Here are some photos taken by John McCauley at the Chrism Mass.
Created with flickr slideshow.