Homily by Bishop Larry Duffy at Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday 2023

Homily by Bishop Larry Duffy at the Chrism Mass in St Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan on Holy Thursday, 6 April 2023

In welcoming you here today I extend a special “Cead Mile Failte” to Frs 

Kieran and Humphrey from Nigeria; and Fr Saghar from Pakistan.

It is great to have you and you are most welcome.

I hope you are adjusting to the Irish culture and weather.

This is a more normal Holy Thursday where Covid in no longer a main item on

the daily news.

The last three years have taught us some truths; our need of others and the

importance of personal contact and friendship. We need one



In recent times, the Universal church has been on a synodal journey.

We are beginning to note that the richness of the Catholic Church has been its

                    openness to diversity while placing Christ at the centre.

On this Holy Thursday, as we thank God for the gift of priesthood, it is

                    appropriate that we hear what people are saying about priesthood

and ministry.

The following two statements sum up much of what is said:

  1. “Many of those responding to the Synod recognise that the clergy are overworked.”
  2. “There is a deep appreciation and affection for faithful and dedicated priests and a concern about the many demands they face.”

“appreciation for faithful and dedicated priests.” – Parishioners like a man close to God and close to people.

Concern about overwork & the many demands they face as priests today.


Recent months have not been easy for the priests of Clogher.

An increasing number of you have been most generous in helping neighbouring

                    parishes where there is no priest.

I thank you for your generosity; it follows the example of Christ who humbled

himself to assume the condition of a slave.

There is no easy solution, but the future calls for change and greater lay


                    (we will hear more about this on another day.)

And prayer for vocations to the priesthood is so important.

Christ calls on every generation to pray that the Lord of the harvest send

                    labourers into the harvest.

Our year of prayer for vocations, starting later this month, is our effort to do

this when we invite especially the young to “Take the risk for



Today’s Gospel passage has a comment about Jesus that I have sat with.

                    “And all the eyes in the synagogue were on him.”

His was a new voice – We in our time need to hear that new voice in every

situation and change we face.

Let us not be afraid of it.

Jesus Christ must be our focus.

He is the good Shepherd caring for his flock.

He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

He is the One who invited us into priesthood, diaconate and religious life.

Trust in Him as we face the future.

My dear people, thank you for your prayers and do pray for me, and for your priests, deacons and religious.  



Notes for Editors:

  1. The Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of County Monaghan, virtually all of County Fermanagh and portions of Counties Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan. There are 37 parishes and 85 churches, served by 44 priests in parish ministry and 2 deacons. The Catholic population of the diocese is approximately 83,000. Bishop Larry Duffy is the Bishop of Clogher and the Cathedral church is St Macartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan town.
  2. The Chrism Mass is one of the oldest and most solemn liturgies of the Church. It is celebrated annually on Holy Thursday in the Cathedral. During the Chrism Mass the Bishop consecrates the oil of Chrism which is used to anoint the newly baptised, to seal candidates for Confirmation and to anoint the hands of newly-ordained priests. It is also used in rites associated with the dedication of altars and churches. The bishop also blesses the oil of catechumens for use in the celebration of Baptism and the oil of the sick used to bring comfort and support to the sick and infirm. At this Mass also the priests come together as a body with the bishop as a witness to their cooperation with him in priestly ministry, uniting that beautiful ministry with the sacrifice of Christ. At this Mass each year, priests renew their commitment to serving Christ and to building up the People of God.