Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The CHRISM MASS...

...at Westminster Cathedral is crowded every year - and I don't know how or why,  because it is not widely advertised, no promotion in parishes across the diocese or whatever. And it is on a weekday, and invariably is cold weather...

But it invariably absolutely packed, with people sitting on the floor and in every side-chapel. I usually find a perch on the marble step by the tomb of Bishop Richard Challoner, near that of Cardinal Basil Hume...but this year some one whispered that there was a space in the St Joseph chapel, so I made my way there slowly edging down the side of the cathedral...the available seat was again marble, part of the weakest-go-to-the-wall bit and with a better view of the nave than my usual perch.  The Mass is glorious, and one can hear every word as the oils are brought up to be blessed in the time-honoured prayers. Fabulous music. And of course, before Mass begins, the rather impressive sights of the long long double column of priests coming up Ambrosden Avenue and up the  steps and through the great doors...

...which we watch accompanied by our placards saying "Thank you to our priests", in what is now an established tradition begun by Catholic women. We always give out thank-you cards, which are well received: this year's features a quote from blessed (soon to be canonised) Paul VI on the priesthood. For background on this tradition, read here...


1 comment:

John King said...

Hi Joanna. Our Chrism Mass here in Derry City, Northern Ireland is held on Holy Thursday as traditional. It is the only morning mass in the diocese on Holy Thursday. It is held at 10.00am and it is always packed. I was told by one of our cathedral curates a few years back, that if I wanted a seat I would need to be in the cathedral by 9.00am. That is what I do every year. It is always packed with primary and secondary school children, as their Easter holidays begins after the Chrism Mass. Saint Eugene's Cathedral here in Derry always look beautiful. They have lit the spire up in purple for the season of Lent. The Chrism Mass is a truly joyful mass, in a day which grows more solemn and sombre with the Mass of the Lord's Supper in the evening.