Chrism Mass at Saligao Seminary

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

As we come to the end of the season of Lent, and approach Holy Week 2012, my thoughts go back to about a decade ago, during the time of the Golden Jubilee celebrations at the Seminary of Our Lady, at Saligao in Goa. At that time, I attended the Chrism Mass that was specially held at the Saligao Seminary Chapel. I had written the following description soon after that:

A bishop blows over the amphora of Holy Oils

“The Chrism Mass, which the bishop celebrates with his presbyterium, and at which the oils are blessed, manifests the communion of the priests with their bishop. For at this Mass, priests gather and concelebrate, coming from different parts of the diocese, as witnesses at the confection of the chrism and as fellow workers with their bishop, in whose sacred ministry for the building up, sanctification and government of the people of God they participate. Thus is manifest in a clear way the unity of the priesthood and the sacrifice of Christ living on in the Church.”

This is what the Archbishop Patriarch Raul N. Gonsalves said in his homily at the Saligao Seminary chapel during the Chrism Mass. In continuation, His Grace also emphasised that the celebration of the Chrism Mass was an ecclesial and hierarchical communion for the service in the Church. The laity and the priests together with their bishop form an integral part of this communion. We are all one in the Spirit. The priests serve the faithful and the laity helps their priests to live up to their priestly vocation by getting involved in the various services of the Church.

We are all part of this common unity and each one of us has an important place and role to play, which we should recognise in the light of the Holy Spirit. The Archbishop Patriarch particularly called upon the clergy to make good use of the oils and prayers in their healing ministry towards the old and sick especially through the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. His Grace said that we could make use of so many prayers that are found in the ritual when dealing with the old and infirm.

After the homily the priests renewed their priestly vows and in the course of the Holy Mass His Grace blessed the Oils of the Sick, Catecumenate and Chrism. Before the conclusion of the Mass his Grace said: “The newly blessed oils should be borne with honour to the parish churches. The old oils should be burned or poured into the Blessed Sacrament lamp.”

The entire liturgy was conducted in Konkani. The seminary choir sang parts of the Mass beautifully in bhajan style in the vernacular. Liturgical hymns in Latin and English were also rendered under the baton of Fr. Bernardo Cota. At the introductory rite of the Mass, Fr. Manuel Gomes, the Rector of Saligao Seminary, welcomed all those present for the solemn occasion and wished them well.

Before the conclusion of the Mass, His Grace released two books — “Sursum… from Roots to Fruits” (the Souvenir of the Seminary), and “The Old Testament in Konkani” (some parts) to help those using the “Jivitacho Prokas” to further deepen their knowledge. Around 300 hundred priests and religious, besides seminarians and a large crowd of laity attended the Chrism Mass. I was happy to see and meet a large number of faithful from Saligao and exchange with my colleagues pleasant memories of our stay during our formative years in the Seminary of Our Lady, Saligao.


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