Paul Samasumo – Vatican City
Usually, Chrism Mass is celebrated on Holy Thursday, in the morning. Still, several dioceses in Africa, anticipate this Mass to a day in Holy Week. This is to give opportunity for priests of far-flung rural outposts to be back in their parishes for the evening celebration of the Holy Thursday Eucharist.
During Chrism Mass the Bishop blesses oils that will be used for the whole year to celebrate the Sacraments of Baptism, Anointing of the Sick, Confirmation and Priestly Ordination.
We decided not to defer Chrism Mass
“It is a most unusual atmosphere in this Cathedral at the Chrism Mass this year which we have to celebrate with a very small representative number of the people of God because of the coronavirus pandemic…Let me say that in some dioceses this Mass has been postponed to a better date to allow priests and lay people participate. It is an option we have decided not to take. I feel that this day is like a birthday for priestly brotherhood which we wish to celebrate in defiance of COVID-19 and other diseases and problems which assail us,” said Bishop Badejo.
Traditionally, at Chrism Mass priests renew their promises of commitment and faithfulness to the Church before a Bishop.
Thursday’s Chrism Mass in the Diocese of Oyo was attended by a very small representative number of the people from the Diocese. At the same time, the priests were represented by the Deans from the five deaneries of the Diocese.
May God heal our sick world
“We prefer to pray for healing for our sick world, country and peoples that God may visit us soon and restore us,” said Bishop Badejo. He continued, “We are compelled to ask God to heal our world, heal our land and heal his people so that we may return to the best of times in worship of him. We pray for the authorities, for doctors, pharmacists, nurses, caregivers, donors, priests and all others who are working hard to stop diseases and especially (this) coronavirus. May God strengthen them and make them successful in their work,” the Bishop of Oyo prayed.
A priest for others
Addressing himself to the priest-representatives and reiterating some of Pope Francis’ words, Bishop Badejo said the priest is ordained for others.
“We are not priests for our own sake, and our sanctification is closely linked to that of our people, our anointing to their anointing. The priest should be authoritative, not authoritarian; firm, but not hard; joyful, but not superficial…in short, shepherds, not functionaries.” Bishop Badejo emphasised.
Offer your stay-at-home deprivations to the Lord
About the lockdown, the Bishop has asked the people to offer their suffering and deprivations to Jesus Christ.
“We also encourage our people to unite all their deprivations, restrictions and pain with that of Jesus Christ as we go through this Holy Week. Recall the traditional morning prayer where we unite all suffering with Christ’s! How so very near to us Good Friday seems now!” said the Bishop.