On 14 September, Bishop Stephen celebrated the postponed Chrism Mass, at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Dundee. It was a celebration of the priesthood in unusual times.
The Chrism Mass is the occasion on which the bishop blesses the holy oils, and when the priests renew their promises of ordination to serve God and his people.
There are three oils that are blessed at the Chrism Mass: that of the sick, that of chrism, and that of catechumens. These are used wherever there is a sacramental anointing, such as the anointing of the sick, the anointing of those about to be or newly baptised, and the anointing of priests.
Usually at the Chrism Mass, the Cathedral is full with priests and parishioners from every parish across the diocese. This year, despite a lifting on many of the restrictions that have been part off the Church’s life for the past 18 months, the attendance was controlled and booking was required.
In his homily, Bishop Stephen spoke directly to clergy of the diocese. He recognised the daily difficulties and trials faced by priests this year particularly, as for many people, the sense of isolation during the longs days of lockdown.
As the clergy renewed their ordination promises, Bishop Stephen asked the people to pray for their priests and for their Bishop. He described clergy’s reaction to the pandemic – livestreaming, regularly corresponding with parish communities and care for those isolating – as magnificent.