THE MASS OF CHRISM
St. George's Cathedral, Southwark
The Archbishop gathers with his Bishops, priests, deacons and parishioners from the whole diocese for the blessing of the oils - see below
Archbishop Kevin McDonald greets some of the St. Raphael's parishioners who attended the ceremony
Pat Mobley, the St. Raphael's Sacristan, on the Cathedral steps
More photographs on the Southwark Diocese website,
For a full explanation of the chrism and the Mass of Chrism,
and photographs on the Southwark Diocese website,
Extract from the Diocesan website
The blessing of oil is very ancient – there is documented evidence of this liturgy from the fourth century, but it is certainly of earlier origin. Today the People of God, bishops, priests, deacons and the lay faithful, assemble on Maundy Thursday at St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark for the Chrism Mass with the main celebrant the Archbishop of Southwark. There is a long standing tradition that it takes place on the morning of Maundy Thursday in the Cathedral, where the bishop is surrounded by the priests of his diocese, whose presence demonstrates their unity with him. As Maundy Thursday is the day on which both the Mass and the priesthood were instituted, Pope Paul VI introduced the renewal of the priestly commitment into the liturgy. This is followed by the blessing of oils and the consecration of Chrism.
The Oil of the Sick and the Oil of Catechumens are plain olive oil – the Oil of Chrism is perfumed with balsam.
The Oil of the Sick is brought to the sanctuary by members of the medical profession. The Archbishop blesses this oil praying: ‘May your blessing come upon all who are anointed with this oil, that they may be freed from pain and illness and made well again in body, mind and soul’. Then the Oil of Catechumens is brought by some of those who are to be baptised at Easter. The Archbishop blesses this oil praying that God will ‘give wisdom and strength to all who are anointed with it in preparation for their baptism’. Then representatives of those to be confirmed and ordained bring the Oil of Chrism. The Archbishop breathes on this oil to invoke the Holy Spirit and consecrates it praying: ‘make this mixture of oil and perfume a sign and source of your blessing. Pour out the gifts of your Holy Spirit on our brothers and sisters who will be anointed with it. Let the splendour of holiness shine on the world from every place and thing signed by this oil’.
After the Mass, the deanery oil stocks are filled and taken back to the deaneries where the parish oil stocks are filled. They are collected so that they may be presented in each parish at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday evening.
For Archbishop Kevin's homily at the Mass of Chrism,click here