This is a time of renewal for us all. As I sat having breakfast yesterday, I noticed just how the garden had shaken off its winter drabness, the blossom had come out on the trees around the fishpond, the leaves on the Copper Beech trees had unfurled and birds were flying to and from the birdfeeders. Wonderful signs of new life and vigour. Later in the morning I made my way along with many others to the Cathedral for the Chrism Mass at which the priests present renewed their vows and the Holy Oils were blessed by Cardinal Nichols.
The Holy Oils will be received into the Abbey Church tonight (Wednesday). There are the three oils, the Oil of the Catechumens, the Oil of Chrism and the Oil of the Sick. On Holy Saturday morning whilst there so much activity going with the preparations for Easter, there will be a short and simple Liturgy at the font during which those who are to be baptised, confirmed and received into full communion are anointed with the Oil of the Catechumens. Then in the evening we will celebrate the baptisms and confirmations at which the catechumens will be anointed with the Oil of Chrism. They will be bringing renewal and new life into our parish community.
At the Easter Vigil, the Abbey Church takes on a renewed appearance when the purple cloths that have a subdued feel are removed, candles are lit, bells are rung, and a fanfare is sounded to celebrate the Glorious Resurrection of our Saviour.
At all the Masses on Easter Day all of us have an opportunity for renewal when renew our baptismal vows. This act of renewal should help strengthen and deepen our faith and our love for our Risen Lord. It has been so good to see many more in church since the lockdown eased. There are still many who are apprehensive about coming. Let us pray that this may be a time of renewal for them. May we persevere in our prayers for an end to the pandemic, as well as praying for peace in Ukraine, Yemen, Cameroon and other troubled places in the world.
On behalf of the monastic community, I wish you a Happy and Blessed Easter, thanking you all for your generosity and prayers.