18 June 2013
The current issue of Friends News, the magazine of the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin (Vol 31, No 1 & 2, Spring/Summer 2013), includes a cover photograph from the Saint Patrick’s Day Festival Eucharist, at which I was the preacher.
The caption inside reads:
Front Cover: Ian Keatley, Director of Music, the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Dermot Dunne; the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson; the Very Revd Dr Hugh P Kennedy, ADM, of St Peter’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Belfast; Canon Patrick Comerford; and the Director of Music at St Peter’s Cathedral, Nigel McClintock, following the special cross-border, ecumenical St Patrick’s Festival Eucharist in Christ Church Cathedral.
Clergy and readers renew vows at Chrism Eucharist
Canon Patrick Comerford
The majority of the clergy of the diocese – the archbishop, and many of the priests and deacons – gathered with a large number of readers and lay ministers in Christ Church Cathedral on Maundy Thursday for the Chrism Eucharist.
This traditional service towards the end of Holy Week each year offers and annual opportunity for all in ministry to renew commitments and the vows we took at our ordination or our commissioning.
The Archbishop put the questions for renewal to the clergy and the readers, before a lay member of the cathedral congregation put the questions to the archbishop.
This year’s service was sung by a consort of the cathedral choir and included a foot washing ceremony in which the Archbishop, Dr Michael Jackson, and the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Dermot Dunne, washed the feet of several members of the congregation.
During the Chrism Eucharist, the oils for anointing and baptism and the oil of chrism for confirmation were blessed and consecrated.
In his sermon, Archbishop Jackson drew from the text: “The gardener replied, Sir let the tree alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down” (Luke 13: 9).
He reminded us that the “theme of servant leadership has today become all the more important as Holy Week has taken us into Jerusalem in the company of the Servant King on Palm Sunday and as today, on Maundy Thursday, the Master washes the feet of the servants and changes for ever what the content of leadership is.”
He said Saint John’s Gospel was clear about what was needed for the journey of missional discipleship, courageous service and compassionate leadership.
“We are not even given the option of luxuriating in darkening clericalism, of lingering in light-flickering sanctuaries and of double-checking the exact length of our exquisitely ironed surplices or even our drip-dry cassock albs. Maybe, as Pope Francis is reported to have said, when they handed him his magenta silk and ivory ermine: Please now wear it yourself, the carnival is over! We are, in the best sense of the words, to take the Eucharist for granted and to carry deep within us the imperative to find and to touch those who are lost and forgotten and to wash their feet. We are asked to engage with the self-emptying which was the guiding feature of Philippians chapter 2 on Palm Sunday.”
“We are asked ever so gently and so firmly to let the mind of the master to be changed to become the mind of the servant – and to rejoice in this transformation,” he told us.
“And whether we like it, lay and ordained ministers alike, we are to live every day to this point of intersection between servant and master, master and servant,” he said.