Presbyterorum Ordinis

Chapter Two, Section two of the document is entitled ‘ Priests’ Relationships with Others’. There are three different groups referred to in this section. N.7 deals with the priest’s relationship with his bishop, n.8 deals with his relationship with his fellow priests and n.9 with the laity, especially those in his care. N.7 outlines the relationship that should exist between a bishop and his priests. It begins with the following:

“All priests, in union with bishops, so share in one and the same priesthood and ministry of Christ that the very unity of their consecration and mission requires their hierarchical communion with the order of bishops. At times in an excellent manner they manifest this communion in liturgical concelebration as joined with the bishop when they celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice.”

Over the centuries the connection between the bishop and the priests of a diocese would certainly have been recognised and reflected upon but the phrase ‘hierarchical communion’ was a new way of describing the reality of the relationship. Its expression in liturgical concelebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice can be seen in its highest expression at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week usually celebrated in the Diocese of Cloyne on Wednesday evening in the Cathedral in Cobh. The holy oils are also blessed and consecrated during that Mass.