The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have announced today that following the example of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, the celebration of the annual Chrism Mass will be postponed until social circumstances allow.
In an announcement to the diocese, Archbishop George said:
“In solidarity with the Holy Father who is not celebrating a Mass of Chrism in Holy Week, the Bishops of England and Wales have decided to postpone this Mass until a later date. Should the current situation allow, the Celebration of Priesthood on the Feast of the Sacred Heart might be an opportunity to hold this Mass later in the year.”
The Chrism Mass, which is normally celebrated during Holy Week, gathers the clergy and faithful of the diocese, with the bishop, for the consecration of the Holy Oils for use in the Sacraments over the course of the next year. In what is a joyful and moving celebration, the oils are normally presented by representatives of the faithful to the bishop with the formal request to consecrate them for use. Due to the current restrictions on gatherings due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, a decision had to be made to whether to proceed without clergy and faithful, or to postpone until a later date. Following the example of the Holy See and in order to allow the celebration to take place with its fullest expression, the decision was taken to postpone this year’s celebration.
By tradition the Mass of Chrism is usually celebrated on Maundy Thursday, the day on which Christ instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood. As such, during the celebration the priests of the diocese usually renew the commitment they made at their ordination. This year, Archbishop George has called on the presbyterate of the Archdiocese of Cardiff to renew their priestly promises in private in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, using some specially produced prayers.
As soon as confirmed date for the celebration of the Chrism Mass is announced, it will be made available through all diocesan communications media.