Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin, celebrated the annual Chrism Mass with priests and people of the Diocese of Elphin in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Sligo on Wednesday 17 April.
In his homily for the Mass, which was concelebrated by Father Dermot Meehan, Diocesan Administrator of Achonry, Bishop Doran, said: “The Mass of Chrism is a gathering of the faithful and the priests of the diocese around the bishop, whose mission – like that of Jesus himself – is to be a sign of communion.”
The bishop noted the many uses of the Chrism Oil. He said: “Through Baptism we are already entrusted with mission and this is symbolised by the anointing with Chrism that is part of the ceremony of infant Baptism. In Confirmation, the Chrism is used again, as the sign of our fuller participation in the mission of Christ.
“The Oil of Chrism is also used, of course in the ordination of priests and bishops. This evening, we priests have the opportunity to renew our commitment to the mission entrusted to us at our ordination. I want to welcome all of you and to thank you for the witness that you give through your ministry and through who you are.”
On the challenge the Chrism Oil presents to parishioners, Bishop Doran said: “The Oil of Chrism also represents a challenge for the parish communities and for the families in our diocese. It is a reminder that the Church depends on the ministry of priests for the Eucharist, as well as for many of the Sacraments. We are depending very heavily in this diocese on the generosity of religious congregations and missionary societies and on dioceses in Africa and Asia, who have lent us priests. While this is an expression of their communion and a response to our real need, we do have to ask ourselves seriously what we are doing in our parishes and in our families to encourage young people, in the first place to be disciples, but then to respond generously to the call to priesthood and religious life, even if that involves making sacrifices. Are we praying for vocations and, if we are, is our prayer an expression of trust in a God who is calling, or an expression of disappointment because we think God has stopped calling.”
Concluding his homily, Bishop Doran said: “This evening, especially, we pray for our doctors and nurses, our paramedics and all who work with them in the care of the sick. We ask God’s blessing on them and on their work, which is a sharing in the healing ministry of Christ himself. We pray that they may always have courage to be advocates for life. Our prayer is all the more authentic, of course, when our own words and actions reflect a deep respect and reverence for every human life as a gift from God.”