The faithful unite for Chrism Mass celebration
The Chrism Mass is one of the Church’s most ancient and significant ceremonies that continues to attract many of the faithful to its annual celebration.
St Christopher’s Cathedral in Canberra last night was no exception, with parishioners travelling from across the Archdiocese to fill the pews to near capacity.
Traditionally held early in Holy Week and noted for its solemnity and beauty, the Mass features the blessing and consecration of oils used in parishes for Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders.
The ministry of priests is also celebrated, with clergy renewing their priestly promises during the liturgy.
Archbishop Christopher Prowse was the principal celebrant for the Mass, concelebrated by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Balvo, retired Bishop Pat Power, and clergy from the Archdiocese and separately from the Catholic Military Ordinariate. Deacons and seminarians also assisted.
In the Archdiocese’s “Year of Walking Together”, Archbishop Prowse underlined in his homily the themes of Christian unity, solidarity, and equality.
He quoted from a recent address of Pope Francis, who urged the different parts of the church (clergy, laity, bishops and priests, young and old, etc.) to leave behind ways of acting separately “on parallel tracks that never met”.
Again quoting Pope Francis, the Archbishop noted we are all simply “the baptized; we are Christians; we are the disciples of Jesus. Everything else is secondary.”
“By Baptism, we [laity and clergy] all become co-responsible for the Church and its mission,” the Archbishop said. “A special challenge today is to involve all the laity, especially women, into the full life of the Baptised”.
In this spirit of unity, the Archbishop lauded recent parish initiatives at Pambula, Grenfell, Gundagai, Young, Braidwood and Canberra as examples of “Walking together” that “should not be underestimated”.
For the faithful last night, those sentiments were also reflected at the Chrism Mass. Fiona from St Joseph’s parish at O’Connor said she got a sense of joy from the faithful’s fulsome and united response of “Thanks be to God” during the Liturgy of the Word.
“I actually found the Chrism Mass quite enlightening,” said Steve, another participant.
For Laura, it was the coming together of the faithful during the most significant week in the church’s calendar that spoke the loudest.
“It was a beautiful gathering of all of the Archdiocese to come and pray during Holy Week,” she said.