Archbishop Charles J Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland celebrated the Chrism Mass at the Christ the King Cathedral, Mullingar on Wednesday 16 April 2014.
In his homily, Archbishop Brown spoke of the significance of the Chrism and the identity of the Church as a community anointed with the holy oil.
“This is what it means to be a Christian: to spread the fragrance of Christ, symbolised by the fragrance of the Chrism … by the way we live, by the choices we make, by our courage in professing our faith, by our love for others, by our forgiveness of injuries”.
Referring to the renewal of priestly vows, which is a central element of the Chrism Mass liturgy, the Apostolic Nuncio said:
“Let us also tonight thank God for the gift of the priesthood, for the men who have been called by Christ to serve the Church as priests … At times, it is not easy for them. And so, for your witness of faithfulness, you, the priests … have our sincere gratitude”.
The Chrism Mass was celebrated in the context of the 75th anniversary of the Cathedral of Christ the King, which was consecrated with Chrism on 3 September 1939, just as the Second World War began. Reflecting on that experience, Archbishop Brown observed:
“Imagine what it was like that day in 1939, here in Mullingar Cathedral … Two days earlier, Germany had invaded Poland. The Second World War had begun; in fact, it was on the day of the consecration of the Cathedral that France and Great Britain declared war on Germany. We can only imagine both the joy of the people of the Diocese of Meath on the completion of their Cathedral, but at the same time surely the fear and uncertainty about the future which was so powerfully present in those days of September 1939.
Perhaps our times are not so different. There can be fear and uncertainty about the future. But tonight’s liturgy gives us the answer to the question of how to go forward. Let us always remember that each of us has been anointed with Christ. We, like the Cathedral in which we find ourselves this evening, have each been consecrated by Christ and to Christ. Let us never forget our identity: we are not our own, we have been redeemed by Christ and he will take care of his own. Let us live our baptismal anointing by spreading the fragrance of Christ in the world.
At the end of the Mass, Cathedral Administrator Fr Padraig McMahon offered prayers of thanksgiving for the ministry of Archbishop Brown and presented him with a gift marking the silver jubilee anniversary of the Apostolic Nuncio’s ordination to the priesthood.