Wednesday 1 April 2015 at 6.30 pm
Broadcast live on KTO, Catholic television and Radio Notre-Dame.
Like every year, Cardinal André twenty-three presided over this mass in front of a crowded cathedral. 600 priests, 70 seminarians, a hundred deacons and... More than 2 000 faithful will come to hear the renewal of the priestly and diaconal promises of their "pastors".
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During this mass celebrated with all the bishops, priests and deacons of the Diocese of Paris, Cardinal André Twenty-three will consecrate the holy chrism, scented oil used for the sacraments of baptism, Confirmation and order (Deacon, priest and bishop). It also bless the oil of the Catechumens (future baptized) and the oil for the sacrament of the sick. These oils, which are then kept in each parish, will be used in the coming year.
This celebration, to which the faithful of the diocese are keenly invited to partake, is like a manifestation of the communion of priests with their bishop in the one priesthood and the only ministry of Christ.
During the celebration of the decisive call at the beginning of Lent, each catechumens is called by its name and signs the registers of the future baptized by that name. These registers, entrusted to the prayer of the church, are handed over to the contemplative communities of Paris. Thus, each year during Lent, the nuns of these various contemplative communities pray for every catechumen that will be baptized in the diocese on Easter night. During the Chrism Mass, a nun, representing each community, will symbolically report this register and receive in exchange another bearing the names of the seminarians who will receive the priestly ordination in June at the cathedral.
Homily of Cardinal Andre Twenty-three
Messe Chrism 2014
Brothers and sisters, dear friends,
The spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has consecrated me by the anointing. He sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim to the prisoners that they are free, and to the blind that they will see the light, to bring to the oppressed the liberation, to proclaim a year of blessings granted by the Lord. »
In the synagogue of Nazareth, by resuming and applying the prophecy of Isaiah, Jesus clearly announces his mission as Messiah of God, sent for the salvation of the world. The gift of the spirit and the anointing that expresses it extend to the whole Church the sending on mission that will be manifested at Pentecost when the spirit descends upon the disciples in the form of the tongues of fire that will lay on each of them. Since then, those who are marked by the seal of the Holy Spirit are participating in the mission of Jesus. This is how the Holy chrism, which I will consecrate earlier, manifests and realizes this holy anointing which conforms to the dead and risen Christ. We are associated with his mission, not by intentions, however generous they are, or extraordinary projects of action, but by the presence of God himself in the depths of our being and our freedom. Those who are baptized and confirmed, those who are ordained to the priesthood or to the episcopate become, by the fact, those who have to proclaim the good news to the men and women of their time.
For a little over a year he has been called to the Ministry of Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis has repeated us in all sorts of ways with perseverance, how the church can perceive its true identity and implement it only if it does not remain centered Only on itself, that is, if it keeps coming back to its true centre which is Christ and if it is allowed to be led by the love of God, charity, to the men who await the good news, even if they do not know it. Of course this speech is not a novelty for those who try to follow Christ, but, by his personal way of expressing it, the Pope renews our willingness to listen to it and our determination to put it into practice.
The passion to proclaim the gospel, good news for the world, animates our church which has been in Paris for generations. Even if we do not go back to the heroic times of the foundation, and if we confine ourselves to evoking the past two centuries, our collective memory keeps alive the memory of the many initiatives and the great figures of this missionary investment. Whether religious communities or secular personalities, the nineteenth century and the twentieth century give many examples. To name a few, among the best known, does not express any contempt for the others: Catherine plowed and Rosalie rendered in the service of the poor, Marie-Eugénie Millert and Madeleine-Sophie Barat in the educational field, Fr. Daniel Brottier and Frédéric Ozanam in helping the poorest remain as traces of the fertility of Charity in the ecclesial body.
In the same period, we must also evoke the Christians confronted with the various forms of unbelief experienced by the uprooted and transplanted populations of rural France to the large industrial agglomerations. In evoking the Mission of Paris aroused by Cardinal Suhard, by remembering Madeleine Delbrêl and his writings, we are brought back to this confrontation with the unbelief of our time. So many Christians have lost their sense of ecclesial affiliation and have gradually settled in a life where the reference to God has become absent! So many new generations have been driven by the dynamism of a growing society. For these generations, the religious question seemed obsolete, the moral references of human existence outdated! So many men and women for whom the Christian tradition is reduced to a few days of extra leave and a revival of consumption! We are now the heirs of this deaf dispossession which has replaced the great Christian hope with small hopes so often disappointed and by the discomfort that causes the fainting of a great dream: happiness at hand.
Today, it is in this society and in this culture that we are called to proclaim the good news of the salvation that God offers to men. Our testimony must be formatted by the Holy Spirit. We discover the contours and the logic in the Bible that always presents revelation through historical events interpreted and enlightened by the Word of God proclaimed by the Prophets and the Apostles. This inseparable unity between the good news announced and a renewed life is the foundation of all missionary experience: We are invited from the same movement to proclaim Christ and to put his word in practice in the frame of our existences.
In the Diocese of Paris, I appealed to make Advent 2014 a time of Diocesan mission: to announce to those who have never known, and remind those who have forgotten, that Christmas is not simply a feast of children , a family celebration or a feast of light. It is a feast of children, families or light that because it is the feast of the Birth of Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary and Son of God, sent to the world to fulfill the promise of salvation. To bring our contemporaries back to the realism and objectivity of the foundations of our hope: the historical event of the birth of Jesus.
But for the announcement of this historic event to be good news, we still need to give the visible signs of the new life of which it is the source and cause. How and how does faith in Christ change our lives? Announcing that Christ is the savior of the world cannot be reduced to a propaganda work or media outbid. It is a demonstration of strength; Not of our strength, but of the strength of God that crosses our weakness that we share with all human beings.
What our way of life must show is that, whatever weak we are, we are inhabited by a certainty and a hope: God can change the life of the world, the proof is that he changes ours. Like everyone else, we are inhabited by contrary desires, we are tempted by the will of power, by the desire to possess the goods of this world and even to serve others to achieve our ends. Like everyone else, we are weak in the face of suffering and death, and we are tempted to be free of them. But as disciples of Christ, we are inhabited by a force that exceeds us and that makes us able to overcome our weaknesses to help our fellows. With Saint Paul, we can say: this treasure, we carry it in vases of clay, so that this incomparable power is of God and not of us. Pressed from all sides, we are not crushed; In deadlocks, but we get to pass; Hunted, but not joined; Overwhelmed, but not completed; Continually we carry in our body the agony of Jesus so that the life of Jesus is also manifested in our body. (2 Cor. 4, 7-10).
Fortunately, this testimony of the strength of the Gospel is not based on the abilities or even the holiness of all of us, it is a testament to the entire church. It is the vitality and the implication of each of us that this testimony depends, but at the same time it surpasses infinitely what each of us can do and live. It is in the communion of the baptized that the image of the new life is built which we proclaim, each and every one has its share, but none can leave to limit his testimony by the weakness of his life. None of us can give an example, but no one can recuse himself from the pretext of his weakness. It is together that we manifest that the love of God is a hope for all.
During the Advent Mission 2014, we will not offer ourselves as a model to people who may have as many virtues as we do, but we will say serenely to our contemporaries that the love of others does not depend on our good feelings but on the certainty that "God so loved the world that he sent his son, his only, not to judge the world, but for the world to be saved by him." (Jn. 3.17). To carry this word is both a service that we owe to our brethren, a joy that we are called to know and a hope that this word can renew our way of life.
It is for the service of this mission that I address myself particularly to those of you who ask the question of their future. We have in this city a many living people who need pastors to give themselves fully to their mission at this time. Do not hesitate to answer the call of God for the service of the Gospel or at least to study seriously this call, to welcome him in prayer and to speak with a priest. Think of everything you have received and receive from the Church through sacramental life. Think of the multitude of men and women waiting for a signal to welcome the love of God! Think of those that we cannot devote the necessary time to; Think of the people waiting patiently in our sanctuaries to receive God's forgiveness! The Pope invites Christians to confess, that is good, but it is still necessary that they find confessors! You have received free, give free!
In a few days, several hundred catechumens will enter the Christian life and become members of our communities. This evening we pray particularly for all those whom I solemnly called at baptism and who will receive the anointing of the Holy Chrism. The contemplative communities that brought them into prayer throughout this lent will come to give me the books where their names are written. In a moment the priests will renew the promises of their ordinations. They will do so in communion with those of us who cannot be present tonight, those who are blocked by age or disease but also those who are held in Lourdes by the Frat they accompanied. When I welcome this approach, I want to tell everyone my joy and gratitude for the way they serve the people of God who are entrusted to us. Each one, with his talents and his limitations, manifests this power of God that animates the Apostolic Ministry. More than at other times perhaps, we are invited to take on the changes that affect us all. We do not live them in the tension and panic that can affect those who have no hope. We live them in the peace and serenity of those who have received everything from God and rely on him with confidence and detachment. Dear Brothers Priests, thanks to your ministry, the life of our church bears fruit: the word of God is announced, the celebrated sacraments and God's mercy offered to all those who open their hearts to conversion. As your bishop, I measure your generosity and passion for the gospel every day and I thank God for it.
The permanent deacons will also renew their promises. Each, according to his possibilities, is generously serving the mission of the church. I thank them and I would be happy to associate their wives and families with their share of this commitment.
The auxiliary bishops who assist me with perseverance will also renew their commitment to the service of the church in Paris. Thanks to them my limitations and too many absences are compensated and we are grateful to them. One of them, Mgr. Michel Aupetit, will join the diocese of Nanterre, which he has received the responsibility for. It is for us an opportunity to thank him for all these years of Ministry of Priest, vicar general and auxiliary bishop. He knows that he remains present in our heart and in our prayer.
That, by the anointing we have received, the Lord Jesus Christ keeps us all in his communion. Amen.
† André Cardinal Twenty-three
Archbishop of Paris
Holy Week and Easter 2015 at Notre-Dame de Paris
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– Sunday of Palms and Passion 29 March 2015 : Office and masses with ritual opening of the doors of the cathedral, blessing of the twigs, reading of the Passion, Conclusion of the cycle of Lenten conferences
– Tuesday Saint 31st March 2015 : Concert of the Holy Week "O Crux Ave"
– Wednesday Holy 1 April 2015 : Messe chrism
– Thursday Holy 2 April 2015 : Office of Darkness, Mass in memory of the Last Supper and procession to the Reposoir
– Good Friday, April 3 2015 : Office of Darkness, veneration of the Holy Crown of Thorns, Office of the Choir, way of the cross, office of Passion
– Saturday Saint April 4 2015 : Office of Darkness, Pascale vigil
– Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015 : Offices, Masses