Archbishop William Goh pouring perfume into the chrism oil at the Chrism Mass.  Photos: VITA Images

By Jared Ng

Laypeople need to play their part in supporting the priestly vocation, said Archbishop William Goh during the Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday.

“Pray for us [priests] to have a renewal of God’s love and support us even in our weaknesses,” he said during the March 29 celebration held at the Church of the Transfiguration.

The annual celebration saw many diocesan and Religious priests attending. The Chrism Mass signifies the unity of the priests with their bishop and is an expression of the fullness of the bishop’s priesthood.

Laypeople need to encourage and “not take priests for granted,” said Archbishop Goh.

“There are too many demands, high expectations placed on priests with little or no gratitude [or] appreciation in return,”

Archbishop Goh said, adding that priests may eventually suffer burnout as a result.

When this happens, the priesthood may become more of “an ambition than a vocation”.

Priests may look at their office appointments as “a sense of security” rather than as “a ministry of service and love,” he said.

“Priests need to be men of mercy, holiness and compassion,” but most importantly, “be a symbol of Jesus’ presence to the people,” he said.

Quoting Pope Francis, he urged all priests to “go out of ourselves to touch people who are hurt and scandalised ... Preach to them so they find hope, encouragement.”

Archbishop Goh with priests of the archdiocese during the March 29 celebration at the Church of the Transfiguration.

During the Mass, Archbishop Goh blessed the oil of the sick to be used for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and the oil of the catechumens.

He also consecrated the chrism which will be used for the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders, as well as for consecration of churches and blessing of altars.

The Mass also saw the clergy renewing their priestly vows.

In his closing remarks at the end of the Mass, Archbishop Goh reiterated his support and gratitude to all priests for their work and commitment to the Church and asked for prayers for Fr Eugene Vaz, who was recovering in hospital after a fall. 

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