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Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP Presides Over His First Chrism Mass as Archbishop of Sydney

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
2 Apr 2015

The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP today presided over his first Chrism Mass as Archbishop of Sydney at St Mary's Cathedral.  He told those gathered that it was a real privilege to be celebrating the Mass, which has always been understood as a manifestation and renewal of the unity of the bishop of a diocese with his priests.

This morning's Mass, concelebrated by more than 100 priests, was a great symbol of that unity to the faithful gathered at the Mass, including deacons, religious and seminarians, representatives from Sydney Catholic schools, lay faithful who work near St Mary's Cathedral and others who had travelled in to the city to be present at the Mass.

Holy Thursday Chrism Mass at St Marys Cathedral in Sydney

In his opening remarks, Archbishop Fisher invited those gathered to pray for those priests who had passed away during the preceding year, and also for those either too sick or frail to attend the Mass.  He also honoured those who had passed milestone anniversaries since their priestly Ordination, commenting that amongst the 15 priests celebrating significant anniversaries, 680 years of priestly service had been rendered to God and His people.

The readings from the Prophet Isaiah and the Book of Revelation each spoke of the ministry of the priesthood, and the Gospel told the story of Jesus' reading from the same words of the Prophet Isaiah in the Synagogue.

In his homily, Archbishop Fisher addressed the priests gathered, telling them that the ministry of the priest is to be the icon of Christ, "painted in the oils of the Gospel".  He continued: "Priests of Jesus Christ: know what you are and be true to your vocation."

He also asked all people of God to pray for and support their priests, that they would be true to their vocation and not be discouraged.

On Holy Thursday, the Church celebrates the institution of the priesthood by Christ at the Last Supper.  Because this day is the "anniversary of the priesthood", priests at the Chrism Mass renew the promises made on the day of their Ordination.

Hundreds of priests from the Archdiocese of Sydney concelebrated the Mass

Following the homily, the priests stood and affirmed their resolve to be united with the Lord Jesus and more closely confirmed to Him, to be faithful stewards of the Mysteries of God and to discharge the Sacred Office of teaching.

The congregation was then invited to offer their prayers for their priests.

Archbishop Fisher also restored an ancient order in the liturgy, blessing the oils of Chrism, Catechumens and the sick during the Eucharistic Prayer and Communion Rite.  This, the Archbishop explained, was to highlight that similar to the bread and wine offered to the Father during the Eucharistic Prayer, the oils were also set apart for a holy purpose, and would be received by the faithful for their sanctification during the administration of the Sacraments.  For this reason, the oils were carried to the altar during the offertory procession.

At the conclusion of the Mass, Archbishop Fisher encouraged the young people present to consider a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, making special mention of the Year of Consecrated Life which is now being celebrated.

Those who attended the ceremony were given a prayer card, on each of which the name of a different priest and a seminarian were written, and they were invited to pray for them throughout the year.

Following the Mass, the Archbishop hosted the priests and deacons at Cathedral House for a meal.