People from across the Archdiocese of Liverpool flocked to fill the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King on Wednesday evening to celebrate the annual Mass of Chrism.
Bishop Vincent Malone was the Celebrant with 119 priests concelebrating and 46 deacons taking part in the Mass.
Bishop Malone replaced Archbishop Patrick Kelly who is convalescing from successful hip replacement surgery. At the end of the Mass he asked the congregation to remember the Archbishop in prayer using words from the earlier Renewal of Commitment to Priestly Service. He said:
'Pray also for Archbishop Patrick Kelly
that despite his own unworthiness
He may faithfully fulfil the office of apostle
which Jesus Christ has entrusted to him.
Pray that he may become more like
our High Priest and Good Shepherd,
the teacher and servant of all,
and so be a genuine sign of Christ's loving presence among you.'
The Mass of Chrism is only celebrated in Cathedral Churches. It draws attention to the Cathedral as the Bishop’s church from which, as it were, all priests of the Archdiocese are sent out on their pastoral mission.
At the Mass the Bishop consecrated the oils which the priests took with them throughout the Archdiocese for the conferring of the Sacraments in the Lord’s name. It was also the occasion for priests to renew their commitment to their ministry and for people to join with their priests in prayer.
The Holy Oils which were blessed by Bishop Malone were:
The Oil of the Sick which is used for anointing during the Sacrament of the Sick.
The Oil of Catechumens which takes its name from the title given to those preparing for baptism, the Catechumens. They are anointed with this during the rite of baptism.
The Oil of Chrism which takes its name from Christ: the Anointed One. Chrism is a mixture of sweet smelling balsam and pure olive oil, it is given the dignity of being consecrated, not merely blessed. It is used to anoint those being baptised, confirmed or ordained, monarchs at their coronation, and the altars and bells of churches when they are consecrated.
Following the mass of Chrism a quantity of each oil is taken to every parish in the Archdiocese for use in the administration of the Sacraments.
Taking part in the music of the Mass was the Cathedral Choir. The music included the motets ‘Jubilate Deo’ in a setting by Herbert Howells; ‘Ave Verum’ by Colin Mawby and ‘Tantum Ergo’ by Joseph Deodat de Severac. Hymns sung included: ‘God is here’ with words by Fred Pratt Green; ‘My God accept my heart this day’ by Matthew Bridges; ‘This is my body’ by Jimmy Owens and ‘Praise to the Lord’ by Joachim Neander.