While it seems like January was still in the rear-view mirror, here we are with Holy Week, some of the busiest days of the year for parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Toronto. The annual Chrism Mass is always a great opportunity for many of the clergy to gather in fellowship and fraternity along with parishioners from throughout the Archdiocese.
I'm always amazed at the crowd that gathers for the celebration. Middle of the week, 11:00 a.m. yet every year it's filled to the rafters - a wonderful witness both for the clergy and those who support them in their mission, with parishioners coming from every direction to take part in the celebration.
For those less familiar with this tradition, the Mass of Chrism is held in dioceses throughout the world, where priests gather with their local bishop often on Holy Thursday or another day close to Good Friday. Some dioceses held their Chrism Masses last week with many taking place early during Holy Week given the extensive activity and demand on clergy and parish staff.
The Mass is held at St. Michael's Cathedral and provides an opportunity for the local bishop to bless the holy oils and distribute them to parishes who will be use them in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Sacrament of the Sick over the next year.
The Eucharistic Celebration also provides an opportunity for priests to gather in solidarity with their local bishop, renew their commitment priestly service while the congregation also has the opportunity to pray for those who serve the church.
The clergy of the archdiocese also enjoys fellowship and a meal following Mass where Jubilarian priests are honoured, with those who have served faithfully for significant milestones like 50 or 60 years receiving special recognition from their peers and Cardinal Collins.
It's great to hear the priests applauded as they leave the church during the recessional hymn, recognition for all that they do to strengthen our faith community.
You can listen to Cardinal Collins' homily at this year's Chrism Mass by clicking here.
We give thanks for the wonderful gift of our clergy who serve us faithfully and in the distribution of the Holy Oils, we recognize that sense of unity, ever mindful of the hundreds of priests, bishops and parishioners who were present for the distribution of these Holy Oils, blessed by the bishop, shared in ministry and united in our common mission to love and serve one another.