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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Chrism masses held in the Hague and in Rome

The Chrism Eucharist was celebrated on Tuesday in Holy Week in two centres in the Diocese: Rome and the Hague. At these services, the clergy and readers of the area gather with the bishop (in All Saints Rome it was with Honorary Assistant Bishop Michael Colclough) for one of the most solemn and significant liturgies of our Church.

Representatives of the laity present the three oils to be blessed
I was able to preside at the service in the Church of St John and St Philip in the Hague. During the service, the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick and the oil of chrism are blessed. We use the first to anoint those who are seeking to become part of the Church through baptism. The second is for anointing those who are sick and the third is used after baptism, in confirmation and in the ordination of priests, to signify the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and the faithful at these times. .

The Chrism Eucharist is also the time when those in ministry, deacons, priests and bishops, renew their vows of service. Readers, the licensed lay ministers of the Church, have joined in this solemn act in more recent times. All receive the prayers and support of the people for their particular ministry. The people of St John's and St Philip's hosted a lunch for the clergy and readers who came from all over the Netherlands and Belgium for the Eucharist.

I was particularly pleased to see a good gathering of Readers, who are known by their distinctive blue preaching scarves. Priests, deacons and Readers alike value these precious times to meet together, to be reminded of their unity in the task of serving Christ's people, and to build bonds of friendship and support which help to sustain their ministry.

The consecrated oils are taken by the clergy and readers back to their home churches for use in the sacred rites of the Church over the next year. For those who were unable to attend one of the services, the oils can be obtained from the diocesan office. Please contact Mrs Bron Panter.

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