...at which all the priests of a diocese gather to receive the blessed oils that will be used for sacramental anointing during the year, is always a big event. At Westminster Cathedral it has become quite a spectacle as the long procession of priests comes up Ambrosden Avenue and into the piazza. Shoppers in Victoria Street pause to watch, people crane through bus windows, tourists take photos...but will it all happen this year, in this bitter cold? The Westminster Chrism Mass is tomorrow (Tuesday).
I'm writing this near the Cathedral (useful coffee-shop with Internet access has become a favourite haunt to this proud possessor of a new laptop) and London is full of well-wrapped figures, hunched across the cold. Priests in albs and vestments will feel distinctly chilly - maybe the decision will be made to abandon the outdoor walk and simply have them arrive via the sacristy. Which will be a pity in a way, because we in the Assn of Catholic Women will be in the piazza with our "Thank you to our priests" sign, and small holy-cards with a message of prayer and gratitude. On the other hand, we always hand out the cards to priests as they arrive beforehand and are hurrying to the Cathedral Hall for vesting before the procession...and so it's still worthwhile.
On Wednesday the Southwark diocesan Chrism Mass takes place at St George's Cathedral, where the priests walk in procession from the adjoining Amigo Hall. I'll be there with a fresh team and with the placard and thank-you cards...and maybe the weather will be a bit warmer!
Other Holy Week duties include the purchasing of choc eggs, bunnies etc for family, godchildren, and friends...