Sunday, 8 April 2007

Chrism Mass

The "Demo" at the Maundy Thursday Chrism Mass went rather well, I thought. Despite the last-minute panic over the placards, they didn't look too bad in the broad light of day! It would have been nicer to have them made properly, but that will teach me not to leave it so late next year.

The first photo (mantilla-twitch to Fr John Boyle for these) shows some of the younger helpers... some of the older ones proved to be a little camera-shy (I include myself in that!) but by the time the priests processed in, there was an enthusiastic bunch to cheer and clap (as shown in the second photo.)

I wasn't hiding that time (in fact, I didn't realise Fr. John had taken a photo while actually processing in!) but I am hidden by the priests going past, as I was handing out some of the "Thank You" prayer cards. I was very pleased with the cards... they had far more class than last year's home-made effort...

The Mass itself was a little grim. For some reason, St. George's Cathedral seem to have a real problem with hymns. The words of one hymn seemed to deny transubstantiation (which rather misses the point, given that it's on Maundy Thursday) and the "tunes" weren't very tuneful. I was in the Lady Chapel (no room anywhere else) and it was really striking that the one hymn everyone in the diverse, multicultural throng joined in with (with real gusto, I might add) was "Soul of my Saviour." There's a lesson in there somewhere.

The homily was mercifully short. There was much said on the priesthood of the faithful, and precious little on the ministerial priesthood. Another missed opportunity. And the Archbishop says we need to have a vision of a Church with fewer priests. Sorry, that sounds more like my idea of a nightmare... Also, if you plan for a church without priests, you're going to get one. We should look at the new movements and countries where vocations are up, and work out what they're doing right. The first part of the quote I'd swiped from Sacramentum Caritatis for the back of the prayer card was quite pertinent in this regard:

"...We must never lose confidence that Christ continues to inspire men to leave everything behind and to dedicate themselves totally to celebrating the sacred mysteries, preaching the Gospel and ministering to the flock."

I was delighted to note that there weren't any protesters calling for "wimmym-priests" this year. It was a nasty, underhand and mean-spirited thing to do on such an important day for the priesthood: I'm rather chuffed that they've been discouraged by our presence. Of course, given their average age, they might have died out...

8 comments:

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

That's amazing re the placards & cards..never heard of it before.
Fancy planning for 'less' Priests..a bit defeatest don't you think? What about all the African/Ukranian etc Priests? The Catholic Church is universal & some seminaries are full..

northern cleric said...

The last time I went to the Chrism Mass (1998) I was left feeling depressed for the entire Triduum, so grim it was.
I just don't go now.

Mark said...

I'm glad Soul of my Saviour was sung even if the hymns are dire. It's a favourite of mine.

The homily at our Chrism Mass wasn't the shortest, but I liked it.

Mac McLernon said...

Mark, Soul of my Saviour was the only good hymn...

DilexitPrior said...

I went to the Chrism Mass for the first time ever this year. I'm pleased to say our archbishop gave a homily directed towards the priests and emphasizing the importance of "being the presence of Christ"! :-)

Fr Nicholas said...

Thanks, Mac, for sending me the cards - and please keep on praying for us priests! Happy Octave.

Sede said...

I am saddened by your comments on two fronts.

1) You misrepresent the Archbishop's homily in that he did not say we need a vision of a Church with fewer Priests. Additionally, he said that it was good for others to hear what was being addressed to those in the ministerial priesthood.

http://www.rcsouthwark.co.uk/chrism07_homily.html

2) Thankfully, I have no one in my parish with such a view of the Archdiocese coming together and worshipping God and being sanctified. I loved the entrance procession coming into the Cathedral to Veni Sancte Spiritus, as it was sung at my own Ordination to the Priesthood.

Mac McLernon said...

Dear Fr Sede,

I am sorry that my comments sadden you... that was not my intention.

I did not misrepresent the Archbishop's homily - I said "There was much said on the priesthood of the faithful, and precious little on the ministerial priesthood"

As for planning for a Church with fewer priests, the Archbishop referred to his "Vision" for the Archdiocese in his homily... and the official material prepared for the meetings held in each parish clearly state that we need to plan for fewer priests.

"I have no one in my parish with such a view of the Archdiocese coming together and worshipping God and being sanctified"

I seriously doubt that... unless the whole of your parish are clones. In the same way, I recognise that some people enjoy happy clappy liturgy. I prefer a more traditional liturgy. And if I didn't believe that the Archdiocese coming together for worship was important, I certainly wouldn't bother to go, especially as some years I have had to take a day off work (without pay.)

Nevertheless, I thank you for your continued ministry in the Church, and I hope that you liked your Chrism Mass thank you card.

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