This morning I headed off to the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption & St. Gregory in London for the Ordinariate Chrism Mass. A Chrism Mass is an annual service, led by a bishop in the presence of his priests, at which the priests renew/reaffirm their Ordination promises and during which the sacred oils, used throughout the year, are blessed.
Usually the Chrism Mass takes place in Holy Week. But this has proved problematic within the Ordinariate because our clergy are not confined to just one geographical diocese but are spread across the whole country. It was therefore sensible to move it to the week before Holy Week to ensure clergy who need to spend a whole day travelling can make it.
A quirk of the Ordinariate is that it is directly answerable to Rome. Our chain of command goes from the Ordinary directly to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, whose priests we are. So it was fitting that the celebrant at Mass was Archbishop Edward Adams, the Papal Nuncio to Great Britain. The preacher was Monsignor Newton who delivered a fine sermon touching on Newman’s beatification later this year and focusing on a priest’s obligation to be holy. There was a stark warning given of the terrible damage caused to the church when priests fail in this task.
St. Anselm’s was well represented. Not only did we have a handful of our congregation in attendance at the Mass, including our sacristan, but we also provided two servers for the Mass and two deacons. Both priests were present too. Not bad for a little village church!
I liked the change of timing this year. It meant I was able to fully focus on the Chrism Mass without feeling overly strung out and stressed, as can be the case when the service falls during the gruelling schedule of holy week itself. We are nearly at the end of our Lenten journey then. Palm Sunday falls this coming weekend. Locals if you want the full ceremonials of Palm Sunday then come to the principle Mass at 9:15am – at the 8am and 11am Mass we shall have a more simple blessing of palms.