On Wednesday night, the Chrism Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral in Cobh. A number of things were highlighted within that Mass as is usual every year. Firstly, the priests celebrating significant anniversaries were acknowledged. The bishop began with a Platinum (70th) Jubilarian and worked down to the Silver Jubilarians. Canon Colman O’Donovan, who lives here in Midleton, is the priest celebrating his Platinum Jubilee this year.
Secondly, all the priests present on the night renewed their promises. Thirdly, the sacred oils for Catechumenate (Baptism) and Anointing of the Sick were blessed and the Oil of Chrism was consecrated by the bishop and those oils were passed on to the priests in the sacristy to be brought back to their parishes and will be used in the relevant ceremonies between now and next year.
This year there was one change – usually the bishop would preach at the Chrism Mass. This year he asked Fr. John McCarthy to do so in his role as the new Diocesan Vocations Director. His appointment comes as the Church in Ireland prepares to celebrate a Special Year of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood which begins on the 4th Sunday of Easter this year, April 30th), the usual Day of Prayer for Vocations. During his homily Fr. McCarthy spoke about his own experience of being called to priesthood. He mentioned when he first thought about it and what inspired that thought and also referred to the reality of the many elements that influence or can influence someone’s vocation and he highlighted the centrality of Christ in all vocations. We as priests are called to live lives centred in Jesus Christ and to be conscious of our call to spread the message of Christ in everything we do and say.
As we prepare for the Special Year of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood in Ireland, may we open our minds and hearts to the person of the Risen Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, who suffered, died and rose from the dead that we may be saved and share in the everlasting love of God.