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CHRISM MASS 2019: Archbishop Costelloe calls for healing, hope and renewal in Archdiocese


Archbishop Costelloe blessed the Holy Oils, all of which will be used for Sacraments of Confirmation, Ordination, Anointing of the Stick and Baptism in the coming year. Photo: Matthew Lau.

By Olivia Bunter and Josh Low

To watch the full homily, click here

Living in the light with fidelity and rejecting the powers of darkness that threaten to overwhelm us and our Church was at the heart of the message at this year’s Chrism Mass.

The pews of St Mary’s Cathedral were filled to the brim as the Archdiocese of Perth united - lay people, religious, deacons, priests and bishops alike, on Tuesday 16 April.

Hundreds witnessed as Archbishop Costelloe blessed the Holy Oils, all of which will be used for Sacraments of Confirmation, Ordination, Anointing of the Stick and Baptism in the coming year, with the clergy also renewing their promise of commitment to lives of holiness and service to the Church.

The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop of Perth, Timothy Costelloe SDB, who was joined by concelebrants Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey, Vicar for Clergy Fr Brian McKenna, Cathedral Dean Rev Dr Sean Fernandez, and assisted by Deacon Patrick Moore, along with priests from across the Archdiocese.


The faithful presented the oils to the Archbishop during the liturgy. Photo: Matthew Lau.

Having been a difficult start to the year for the Archdiocese and the Church in Australia, Archbishop Costelloe used his homily to remind those in attendance to place their trust in Christ Jesus.

“As this year has unfolded many of us may well have felt as if we were engulfed in darkness and that we were stumbling and lost in the land of shadows,” he said.

“For all of us who together make up the Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Perth, whether we be members of the laity, of religious life or of the clergy, it must feel as if we have been walking together our own "Via Crucis", our own way of the cross.

“Perhaps in ways that have never been as true before, we find ourselves crying out with Jesus, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned us?"

Archbishop Costelloe said the suffering, which has been and continues to be “real and painful” cannot be ignored or minimised, issuing a call to fidelity to the community of faith in which lies the responsibility and privilege to be the light shining in the darkness.

“As Christians,” he added. “We place our trust in the One who said to His disciples, "Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world."


The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop of Perth, Timothy Costelloe SDB (middle), who was joined by (from left to right), Vicar for Clergy Fr Brian McKenna, Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey, Deacon Patrick Moore, Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton and Cathedral Dean Rev Dr Sean Fernandez. Photo: Matthew Lau.

“We place our trust and faith in this same one who called His first disciples, formed them into a community of faith, and established them as the foundations of His Church, His living body, the community of believers in and through whom He continues to be present to this world as our Saviour and as our God,” Archbishop Costelloe said.

“This is our privilege and our responsibility. Tonight's Mass then is an urgent call to fidelity; an urgent call for us to live in the light and reject the powers of darkness that threaten to overwhelm us.”

Archbishop Costelloe told the faithful not to stifle or reject their humanity, but rather to embrace it and live it to the full, remembering the goodness and richness that is brought into our lives by God.

He followed by using the blessing the oils as a tangible example of how the sacramental life helps us connect with God by giving us moments of encounter with the Lord.

“It is our faith that through these tangible things, through oil and of course through water and bread and wine and other things, God encounters us, and strengthens us, and heals us, and makes us holy,” he said.


Archbishop Costelloe during the concluding doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer, assisted by Deacon Patrick Moore. Photo: Josh Low.

“All the sacraments of the Church are, first and foremost, moments of encounter with the Lord Jesus. In the end He is the only light which can dispel the shadows and chase away the darkness.

“[The Lord] wants us, needs us and expects us to let His light shine in our lives so that people may discover Him as they encounter us,” he said.

“Let us ask God to bring healing and hope and renewal to this Archdiocese… that we can live and grow in fidelity to all that God is asking of us… that we may all be able to centre our lives in Christ, welcome Him as He comes to us in the sacraments, encounter Him in our moments of silence and personal prayer, and recognise and serve Him in the faces of those who suffer.

“We are the holy people of God; we are a royal priesthood whose life is given for the salvation of others; we are the body of Christ, together bearers of His love for His people.”