Holy Thursday celebrations began today at the Vatican with the Chrism Mass celebrated by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. During his homily he thanked Pope John Paul II for his “serene abandonment to God.”
The cardinal referred to the importance of Holy Thursday for priests, recalling that “today in particular is the feast of those of us who have been consecrated through the sacrament of Holy Orders: deacons, priests and bishops.” “We are invited not only to renew our commitments related to ordination, but also to revive the freshness of the feelings that inspired us to give ourselves to the Lord,” he said.
“We are called to be of service to men and women, in the name of God, and to do so in ways characteristic of the Good Shepherd. And this requires in a special way that we follow Christ more closely and with greater fidelity,” he went on.
“The spiritual good of many people, and perhaps even the salvation of many, is related to our holiness of life and our pastoral work. Through our fidelity to our priestly commitments, we can sustain our brothers and sisters in faithfulness to their Christian duties,” the cardinal said.
“We want to renew the initial ‘yes’ of our own vocational story, that is, the decision to put Christ Jesus at the center of our existence and at the apex of our interests,” Cardinal Re added.
“We also profoundly desire to renew, despite our weaknesses, the commitment to being witnesses of the love of God, such that through our humility, the love of God might reach those whom we encounter on our way,” he stated.
Lastly, the cardinal told the faithful present at St. Peter’s Basilica that Pope John Paul II was “more than ever present at this Chrism Mass, and we want to thank him for the testimony he continues to give us and also for his serene abandonment to God, which unites him to the mystery of the Cross.”