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Thursday, 14 April 2022

Chrism masses - moments of collegiality and mutual support

Clergy and lay ministers normally try gather with their bishops in Holy Week for the Chrism Mass, when the sacred oils for the sacraments are blessed and consecrated and vows of ministerial commitment are renewed. Given our vast geography in the Diocese in Europe, one such gathering would not be logistically possible if a good number of clergy and lay ministers are going to be able to attend. So customarily 4 such services are held, two at which Bishop Robert presides (Brussels and Paris) and two at which I preside, in Madrid and Rome. 

These are privileged moments when we gather in the midst of the busiest week of the year, to show our unity in the mission and ministry of Christ's Church to which we are called, and to demonstrate that unity through renewing our vows together and blessing the sacred oils which we use throughout the year. 

More than 45 clergy and Readers were in attendance in Madrid and Rome. We were blessed also by the presence of ecumenical partner clergy from the Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist and Roman Catholic Churches who graciously affirmed their unity with us in these words: we commit ourselves to God and one another, to live, work and pray as one body in Christ". In Rome, colleagues from the Episcopal Church in Europe and Archbishop Ian Ernest, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, were among our distinguished colleagues present. 

I am grateful to Canon Medhat Sabry (St George's Madrid) and Fr Robert Warren (All Saints Rome) and their parish teams for their work of preparation for these services and for the hospitality they offered to those who gathered. 

The Deacon's role includes the careful decanting of the oils of the catechumens and the sick and the Holy Chrism into bottles to be taken back across a continent and islands by the clergy and Readers. Helpers for this important task are always welcome!


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