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Ordinariate gathers to celebrate the Chrism Mass
Continuing Christ's Mission in the World
Members of the clergy and lay faithful belonging to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham gathered at the Ordinariate's central church, Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory's, Warwick Street (London, W1), for the annual Chrism Mass on Monday 30 March.
For the fourth year in succession, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, HE Archbishop Antonio Mennini, was the principal celebrant at the Mass. He also consecrated the Oil of Chrism and blessed the Oils of Catechumens and the Sick.
The Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate, Mgr Keith Newton, preached. During his sermon, he suggested that the word 'consecration' links the two main parts of the Chrism Mass: the blessing of the oils and the renewal of priestly promises.
Mgr Newton reflected on the theme of consecration in light of the anointing of Christ, saying: "The mission of the Church is the same as the mission of Jesus. We are made sharers in Christ's consecration and, therefore, in his mission through the sacraments of baptism and Confirmation, when we are anointed with the Oil of Chrism. It is the Oil of Chrism used at Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination which sets us apart, consecrates us for a particular service. That oil... might be called the oil of Mission."
He continued: "Today, Jesus speaks to each one of us in this Mass. He stirs us to grasp a new and lively understanding of our particular sharing in his mission He sends us forth, priests and people, to be joyful bearers of the Good News – sharing in the divine mission, which was his from the Father."
Speaking specifically of his priests, the Ordinary said: "But, also, we are here that those who are priests may recommit themselves in a particular service in Christ's Church. The fact that we all share that calling to be missionaries does not diminish the role of priests. On the contrary, I think it makes it so much more vital. We will only be effective in our witness if we are grounded and nurtured in the faith of the apostles guarded by the Church, if we are sustained and strengthened for service by the sacraments and if we are lead according to the pattern of servant-hood exemplified by Christ, our great High Priest."
He then addressed his clergy: "My brothers, [we must set] an example of love and service, of striving to live our lives according to the precepts of Christ; of being an encouragement and example to our people and not a stumbling block; of being known as men of prayer and commitment... As we prepare to celebrate, once again, the mystery of Christ's love, let us recommit ourselves in his priestly service to enable to whole people of God to continue Christ's mission in the world."
Addressing the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr Newton said: "Once again, I am extremely grateful that Archbishop Mennini, our Nuncio, has graciously agreed to preside at this celebration. It is always a great encouragement to have you with us, not only as a revered brother in Christ, but also as a visible reminder of our communion with the Holy Father Pope Francis."
In his address at the end of Mass, the Apostolic Nuncio said: "Dear Monsignor Keith, dear brothers and sisters, dear friends... this is the fourth time that I have come to celebrate the Chrism Mass. It is a great pleasure and I thank you for such a kind invitation. It gives me the chance to share in such an important day [in the life of the Ordinariate]."
He added: "I come here as a friend, as a brother, and I am here also as a representative of the Holy Father. I want to assure you of the appreciation and the lasting affection the Holy Father has for all of you. I know all of you, and I think especially of priests and deacons, who have paid a high toll in becoming closer to the Successor of St Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, the Holy Father."
The Nuncio ended, saying: "The first call of mission is the communion of the brothers. May God bless all of you, give you hope and strength and encouragement concerning all that lies in the future."