As we approach Holy Week I wish you all a fruitful liturgical celebration of the mysteries of Our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection. As Bishop, I especially look forward to welcoming the clergy and lay faithful of our Diocese to the Cathedral on Holy Thursday for the Mass of Chrism.

At the beginning of Lent it was heartening to celebrate the Rite of Election in the Cathedral knowing that a good number of people are preparing to be baptised in our parishes at the Easter Vigil. My prayers are very much with our catechumens in these days before their Baptism, Confirmation and reception of the Eucharist, and with the candidates receiving Confirmation and the Eucharist. At the Mass of Chrism, I bless the Oil of Catechumens and the Sacred Chrism to be used in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, and these are subsequently used for the first time in the anointing of the catechumens and candidates at the Easter Vigil. I feel a strong link therefore with all receiving the Sacraments at the Vigil and throughout the year.

As we relive the Lord’s rising from the dead at the Vigil, the celebration of the Sacraments renews our awareness of our participation in the salvation the Lord has gained for us and the gift of his grace poured into our lives. Those of us not being baptised renew our baptismal promises and are blessed with holy water, so that our faith in the Lord’s goodness is refreshed and strengthened. We all need to be saved; we cannot do this for ourselves however virtuous we may be; in Baptism and the other Sacraments we receive the saving grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, our protection from evil in this world and our promise of eternal life in and with God.

The joy of Easter, the grace of the Sacraments, the inspiration we all receive from those coming to share our faith, make the Easter Vigil our most important liturgy of the year and I encourage you to be there. In anticipation I wish you all a very Happy Easter and pray for the Lord’s blessing upon us all as we give thanks for all the wonderful gifts that we receive from him.

+ Joseph Toal
Bishop of Motherwell

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