The cardinal addressed priests and lay people during the annual Chrism Mass at Westminster Cathedral yesterday

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has urged priests to accompany the people entrusted to them during a Chrism Mass at Westminster Cathedral.

At the annual Mass where the bishop blesses the holy oils and priests and deacons renew their promises to serve God and his people, Cardinal Vincent Nichols told clergy: “My brother priests, we have such a precious role to play, as spelled out in the words of the promises we are about take. Always, in all these duties, we are to be particularly sensitive and responsive to the promptings of that Holy Spirit, at work in unexpected ways and places, yet always recognisable in her fruits.

“Pope Francis asks us insistently to be accompaniers of the people entrusted to us and to be the discerners of the promptings of the Holy Spirit among them. Let that call, and the dedication and generosity of time it requires of us, the prayerfulness of life it presupposes within each of us, be powerfully in our hearts as I ask you now to rise and renew, in this great assembly, the promises of your priesthood.

“On this great day of Chrism, we all renew in our hearts our willingness to be workers for Christ”, the cardinal told a packed cathedral.

He continued: “There are two phrases, which describe this enterprise, which I wish to put before you all today. The first is this: the world is God’s construction site. Everything that goes on in this world which is not against the will of God, but rather which flows from all the fine and noble instincts written into every human heart, contributes to this construction.”

Cardinal Nichols said that the second phrase was that “the world is God’s dance floor”, adding “it must be so, because Chrism is called the oil of gladness, the anointing of a joyful family. It is the oil of celebration. Think of the parable of the prodigal son: the Father embraces his lost boy and says: ‘Let the party begin’!”

During the Mass, members of the Association of Catholic Women gathered to hand out thank-you cards to the priests in attendance and held placards saying “Thank you to our priests.”

Joanna Bogle, who is a member of the association and attended the Mass wrote on her blog: “It was moving hearing the strong roar of the men’s voices as the priests all reaffirmed their promises. There seemed to be more priests than ever this year – there were 200 or 300 of them and we ran out of thank-you cards.”