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The 'reality of the Eucharist': Don't let it become a meaningless gesture

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'In treasuring this gift of priestly celibacy we need to recognise more clearly the intimate link between the Ministerial Priesthood and the reality of the Eucharist.'

During the Chrism Mass homily at Our Lady and the Apostles Church, Stockport, Bishop Mark Davies related the Eucharist to the Catholic Priesthood.

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LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A Chrism Mass usually takes place Holy Thursday morning, though it can also occur any day during Holy Week. During this special Mass, the diocese priests gather to receive a blessing with three oils at the hands of the bishop.

The oils of catechumens, the infirm and holy chrism are used to anoint the priests with the words, "Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit." The oils are then used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the diocese for the next year.

During this year's Chrism Mass homily delivered by Bishop Davies, known also as the Bishop of Shrewsbury, he asked that people understand the significance and honor that comes with the blessings.

"In treasuring this gift of priestly celibacy we need to recognize more clearly the intimate link between the Ministerial Priesthood and the reality of the Eucharist.

"If the Mass were ever reduced in our minds to being merely a commemorative meal and the priest as only a community leader or functionary, then the celibacy of the Catholic Priesthood might seem extravagant.

"However," Bishop Davies continued, "once the Ministerial Priesthood is seen in the light of Christ's own total self-giving as Bridegroom to His Bride the Church, then the self-giving of priestly celibacy becomes a reflection of the truth of Christ's own self-gift."

He explained the Chrism Mass allows priests to renew their vocational promises and, though there is a concern for "the next generation of priests and where they will be found," the Bishop of Shrewsbury joked: "Some might wonder if the bishop is hiding all the priests in another part of the Diocese! Or whether other local churches and other families will supply the needs of the future, thanks to the generous help of priests from overseas?

"Others might think there is some 'quick-fix' which might suddenly renew the number and youthfulness of the priests by making fewer demands on those called."

In opposition of such views, Bishop Davies described a "Gap Year" the Shrewsbury Cathedral is offering later this year, where young priest hopefuls can spend time in a parish to nurture their life of prayer, learning about the Gospel and Catholic faith and to develop a relationship with the Eucharist.

"For it will be in the full Eucharistic faith and love of this Diocese, of our parishes and families, that a new generation of priests will be inspired to so live for Christ who died and rose again for us," Bishop Davies explained. "Our High Priest, continually present in the Sacrifice and Sacrament of the Eucharist 'to Him ... be glory and power for ever and ever.'"


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