Wednesday 31 March 2010 at 6.30 pm
Presided over by Cardinal André Twenty-three, Archbishop of Paris,
In the presence of all the bishops priests and deacons of the diocese
Broadcast live on KTO, Catholic television and Radio Notre-Dame.
At this chrism mass 2010, Cardinal André VINGT-TROIS celebrated the mass in front of a full Cathedral. 600 priests, 70 seminarians, a hundred deacons and... more than 2 000 faithful, who came to hear the renewal of the priestly and diaconal promises of their "pastors". After a homily rooted in the news of the Church and society, Monseigneur VINGT-TROIS blessed the oils that will serve for the sacraments of the coming year.
During this mass celebrated with all the bishops, priests and deacons of the Diocese of Paris, Cardinal André Twenty-three consecrates the holy chrism, scented oil used for the sacraments of baptism, Confirmation and order (deacon, priest and Bishop). It also blesses 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 urged to take part, is like a manifestation of the communion of priests with their bishop in the one
priesthood and the only Ministry of Christ.
During the the celebration of the decisive call at the beginning of lent, each catechumene is called by its name and signs the registers of the future baptised. These registers, entrusted to the prayer of the Church, are given to the contemplative communities of Paris. Thus, every year during Lent, the nuns of these various contemplative communities pray for every catechumenate who will be baptized in the diocese on Easter night. During the chrism mass, a nun, representing each community, symbolically reports this register and receives in Exchange another bearing the name of the seminarians who will receive the priestly ordination in June at the Cathedral.
Homily of Cardinal Andre Twenty-three
Dear brothers and sisters,
As we enter the celebration of the Pascal Triduum, our Church is arraignment in the face of men. She is responsible for the sins of the world. In defiance of the reality of the facts, of which no one contests the horror and scandal that they may have caused, we are endeavouring to endorse to our Church,-and in particular to its priests-the moral responsibility for the acts of pedophilia that have been committed for several tens of years.
Imputing pedophilia to the status of the priest engaged in celibacy avoids opportunely to look at the reality of this social scourge, which everyone can know that it strikes mainly within family relations and in networks of family proximity. To emerge from ancient and long-known facts as new revelations gives much to think about the intellectual honesty of informants and is sufficient to reveal their true purpose: to weigh doubt on the moral legitimacy of the Church .
Far from me the idea of denying the reality of acts of pedophilia or forgetting the suffering, often irreparable, of the victims. Yes, as I said on the occasion of the plenary Assembly of the bishops in Lourdes, we are immersed in shame and disarray. We join the regrets expressed by the Pope in his letter to the Irish Catholics. But we are not prepared to let the opprobrium of the twenty thousand priests and religious of France be cast aside. Of these, some thirty priests and religious are serving the sentence to which they have been sentenced, in accordance with the law. It's way too much, but it's not a massive phenomenon. The overwhelming majority of priests and religious in our country are joyfully living their commitment to the service of the Gospel. I have no doubt. We have no doubt and trust in their fidelity.
The offensive which aims to destabilize the Pope, and through him the Church, must not, however, conceal our weaknesses and our possible faults. Our society that lives in the exhibition of sex without limits forces us to be more than ever vigilant and modest in our ways of life. Dear brothers and sisters, priests, deacons, religious, religious and laity, we are only human beings and we must never live in the presumption that we are above ordinary temptations. But this prudence must not turn us into potential culprits in all our relationships.
Among the trials we are experiencing, we must also rise to the offensive of the audiovisual media that celebrate Easter in their own way by concentrating on the evenings of the Holy week their critical capacities on the Church and the Christian faith. Those of us who celebrate the liturgies in their communities will not be affected. But all those who are least informed and least involved in the life of our Church will be bombarded with broadcasts that show themselves as "critics" and that are only propaganda operations, and even coarse propaganda. In our democratic country, Christians are still fully fledged citizens, it is not certain that they are in the process of information.
If I wanted to first evoke these painful subjects, it is obviously because they are present to our minds and cause trouble and sadness among the members of our community. But, without embarking on excessive spiritualization, we are prepared to assume such situations. We have been prepared there by the Lord himself: "the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his Lord, etc." (Mt 10, 24).
Even today the word of the Lord is fulfilled in our eyes in our Church, as it was accomplished in the synagogue of Nazareth. The anointing of Messiah continues his work in our time. She continues her work in the sacramental life of our Church. Every year adults and young schoolchildren, high school students and higher-school pupils, are approaching baptism. Practically every parish in the diocese accompanies several catechumens to the sacraments. Thanks to the oil of the catechumens, they receive from God the strength of the fight for their conversion. Likewise, many adults and young people receive confirmation of their baptism for a plenary life in the ecclesial community. The Holy Chrême that we will dedicate will print to each and every one of them the divine mark on their existence. Likewise, the seminarians prepare with confidence to commit themselves to the service of the ecclesial body through the anointing of ordination. They will be marked by the same Saint-Chrême for the service of the people of God. And the sick and suffering people receive from the anointing of the Holy oil strength and endurance to live their ordeal in communion with Christ and joining in the offering he makes of his life.
For this vitality of the Gospel we thank God who continues to open "to the Gentiles the door of faith." (Act. 14, 27). This grace of the sacraments, we know, is not given to us simply for our spiritual comfort. It associates us directly with the work of God in Christ. With him, we are sent to proclaim a year of blessings and mercy, to be the witnesses of his love for men, for all men.
It is to involve us more closely in this missionary dynamism that I called the Diocese of Paris to live for three years the program: "parishes on mission". The aim is precisely to train us not to dissociate our sacramental life, whose Sunday Eucharist is the Centre, from the global mission of the Church in this world. It is the purpose of this first year that we are living at this moment: to pass from "the Eucharist to the mission"; to draw from the dynamism of our parish assemblies the motivation and means to bear witness to the risen Christ in all areas of our existence as is the Mission of all Christians. Already, you have been able to measure the first fruits of this work. You may have heard the joy of Christians when they share with each other what they receive in their community and their greater agility to share it out of the community.
For us, the time has come to truly understand that one cannot be a Christian without the Church, and even less so against the Church. The time has come to understand that one cannot be a Christian without choosing and wanting it in any way and without assuming this choice in the world. In a way, like Peter at the time of Jesus ' trial, we are provoked to declare ourselves for him or bury our relationship with him in secrecy and ultimately to deny him. "Nothing is veiling that will not be revealed, nothing is secret that will not be known. What I tell you in the shadows, say it in the big day; what you hear in the hollow of the ear, proclaim it on the terraces... Whoever declares himself to me before the men, I shall declare myself to him before my father who is in heaven. (Mt 10, 26... 32).
Brothers and sisters, it is this mission of the Church to which we are called to participate. Let us not confine the grace we receive; share it. Do not bury the talents entrusted to us; Let's make them frutify. Don't let pusillanimity or shame poison our lives. We are members of a body that lives in faith, which shares its faith, which announces its faith. Every Sunday, passing celebrating in the parishes, I witness this vitality of our communities, their joy to celebrate the day of the Lord, their readiness to take their share of the battles of this world for more justice and brotherhood. I am proud of these Christians, often modest and unknown, by whom the word of Christ takes flesh in the common human experience. I am proud of the commitment of many of us to the service of the poor and those whom our society rejects. I am proud of these young families who happily and lovingly assume their conjugal fidelity and their responsibility as parents.
Finally, in this priestly year, you will allow me to send a special message to our so many priests this evening. A message of friendship first and a message of encouragement. Next week more than two hundred and eighty of us will go on a pilgrimage to ARS to celebrate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the death of the Holy curé. We do not have the illusion of reproducing the life and pastoral care of the Curé d'Ars in Paris in the 21st century. But we have hope that the example of his Holiness will strengthen us in our present responsibility for the service of the Church. I know from experience that it is not easy every day to be a priest in Paris. But I also know that our Ministry is a source of great joys. And I think with a particular affection to those of us who are afflicted by age or disease and those who have agreed to go on a mission outside the diocese.
I take this opportunity to associate you with the Thanksgiving of two priests who are present in this Cathedral, and who were ordained just sixty and sixty-five years ago! I am also pleased that Mgr Jacques Benoit-Kuznetsov celebrates this chrism mass with us. He has just been appointed Bishop of Beauvais, Noyons and Senlis, and is still for a few days parish priest of the Trinity.
To mark more appreciably the celebration of the year priestly, we planned to make ordinations of June 26th here even a large Diocesan gathering to which I am sure that Parisians will be many to participate to manifest their attachment and their friendship to their priests and especially to the new ordained. For this the Parvis will be equipped with giant screens, so that one can follow the celebration, and the adjoining gardens serve to keep the party going around the new priests. This gathering will be preceded by a week of demonstrations, prayer and reflection in different places of the diocese. Just now, at the end of the prayer of intercession, I will ask you to say with me the prayer that you have in your hands and that can be the support of your prayer for the priests in the weeks and months that come.
Finally, I have to tell you that a number of young people are asking themselves the question of becoming a priest. They are sometimes, too often, prevented from studying this eventuality by the reservations or reluctance of their Entourage or even their family. So we pray not only for God to call, but especially for us to truly support those who wish to answer his call. Then we can hope that the word of the Prophet will be fulfilled for us too: "all who weep, I will comfort them. Instead of the ashes of penance, I will put on their head a tiara; they were in mourning, I shall perfume them with the oil of joy; they were in despair, I will give them festive clothes. (Is 61, 3). Amen.
† André Cardinal Twenty-three
Archbishop of Paris
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Holy week and Easter 2010 in Notre-Dame de Paris
– Palm and passion Sunday March 28, 2010 : 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 30 March 2010 : Gregorian chant concert "O CRUX AVE"
– Wednesday Saint 31 March 2010 : Messe chrism
– Holy Thursday, April 1, 2010 : Office of Darkness, Mass in memory of the Last Supper and procession to the Reposoir
– Holy Friday 2 April 2010 : Office of Darkness, Spiritual concert with the great organs, veneration of the Holy Crown of Thorns, Choral office, Way of the cross, office of Passion
– Saturday, April 3, 2010 : Office of Darkness, Pascale vigil
– Easter Sunday 4 April 2010 : Offices, masses, hearing at the great organ
– Access to offices:
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