Lots of nice piccies here on the CAM website of yesterday’s Chrism Mass in St Patrick’s, along with the text of the Archbishop’s homily.
I always enjoy this liturgy, which I rather naughtily refer to as the “cooking show”. I especially enjoy the opportunity to play “spot your parish priest”.
But seriously, this is a very significant moment in the yearly liturgical life of the Church. In one sense, it is a celebration of the source and origin of the life of the local Church: the Eucharist, which is Christ himself, our source and summit; the priesthood gathered with their Bishop, who represents (according to Ignatius of Antioch), God the Father in our midst; the oils that are used to initiate new members of the Church into this communion of the Holy Spirit. All mixed up with the colours and smells and tastes and words and actions that go with sacramental life. Deep, deep stuff.
From a purely aesthetical point of view – well, not purely, I guess – I was particularly impressed by the Schola of Corpus Christi Seminary. We used James Quinn’s verses of “O Redemptor”, but sung the English refrain (“O Redeemer, hear our singing as we praise you with one voice”) to the traditional chant rather than the modern Wilcock setting. Thanks Herr Kappelmeister Geoffrey! Apart from three excellent hymns, the entire mass, using the new translations of the Gloria and Sanctus and Memorial Acclamation, was sung in chant, and the people joined in very well. Simple. Dignified. Beautiful. I hope it was an encouragement to every parish priest who attended to implement the same model in their own parishes.