Monday, 27 July 2009

Golden chalices call for golden priests

On Saturday night, I celebrated Mass in English, versus populum, and preached on the priesthood with some personal reflections. Afterwards there was a lovely reception organised in the Parish Social Club by the Union of Catholic Mothers. The Social Club presented me with a new chalice. The above photo shows me with Eddie Conroy, the Chairman of the Club. I blessed the chalice yesterday after Mass and it will be used for the first time tomorrow evening. I'll also take some more detailed photos for you. (There are more photos of Saturday night's event at Mulier Fortis: Parish Club Presentation)

James Preece quotes Archbishop Nichols saying in his graduate dissertation:
"The Church doesn't need any more golden chalices, it needs golden priests."
This is, of course, a reminder to any priest of the need for holiness but I think that the recent enhancement of liturgical furnishing at Westminster Cathedral might indicate that the Archbishop would agree that both can help. A fine chalice contributes to the Sacred Liturgy and to our appreciation of the tremendous mystery that we are celebrating. But it is not enough on its own. Cardinal Ratzinger reminded us in "The Spirit of the Liturgy" that the priest, as well as the people, must offer his own life in active participation in the sacred mysteries. His failure in this respect is a matter for his own examination of conscience and he will be aware of his need for repentance and greater fidelity.

I am touched by the generosity of the ordinary people of the Social Club, many of who are not Catholic. They seem to understand that the Sacred Liturgy is something special and at the heart of the priest's life, and deserves the very best in homage of the God whom we adore. The Curé of Ars would agree with them.

I always remember the electrician who was advising me on lighting for the sanctuary some years ago. He had two options, one cheaper, one more expensive. When I had discussed the options with him, I said that we could afford the more expensive lighting and should opt for that because it would look better. He mused for a moment and said:
Well, we have nice lights in our own homes, don't we?
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