‘Say “Yes” to God!’ – Bishop Duffy at Chrism Mass 2024.

Homily by Bishop Larry Duffy at Mass of Chrism in St Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan on Holy Thursday, 28 March 2024

You are all very welcome to St Macartan’s Cathedral. A special welcome to the boys and girls from St Mary’s PS, Maguiresbidge and St Ronan’s PS Lisnaskea (among others, no doubt) who join us today. We are delighted to have you, and we welcome your teachers & parents.

You join us in prayer on a very special day – Holy Thursday. A day in which God Our Father gives us two precious gifts – Priesthood and Eucharist. Two Sacraments so closely linked.

Boys and girls, this is a very special day for our priests; a day to give thanks,

          a day when they are invited “to fan into a flame the gift God has given”.

In a few moments the priests will be invited to renew their promises to serve

          God as a priest.

They will do as they did on ordination day – “say Yes to God”.

Pope Benedict XVI in his homily at Chrism Mass in 2009 said “In the words

“I do”, spoken at our priestly ordination, we made this fundamental renunciation of our desire to be independent, “self-made”. But day by day this great “yes” has to be lived out in the many little “yeses” and small sacrifices. This “yes” made up of tiny steps which together make up the great “yes”, can be lived out without bitterness and self-pity only if Christ is truly the centre of our lives”.

My dear friends, pray for your priests and pray for me.

During the week, someone sent me a lovely poem entitled “A Tribute to all the Priests in the Diocese of Clogher.” Let me give you a flavour of it:

‘On this the feast day of the priest

When Jesus first celebrated the Eucharistic feast 

May you always have in your heart

The zeal of love for Jesus ..never to part.


God chose you as his special one.

To imitate Jesus his precious son

How privileged it must be for you

because he chooses carefully his chosen few.’


Boys and girls, after the renewal of promises, the oils for the celebration of the Sacraments will be brought forward.

At your baptism, you were anointed with the oil of Chrism inviting the Holy Spirit into your lives. That blessing will be confirmed and repeated in the Sacrament of Confirmation. 

At Baptism you were anointed with the Oil of Catechumens calling you to walk in the Light of Christ rather than in darkness. Where Baptism takes place later in life, I think this anointing has a clearer role. I saw that in Africa when I worked there. During the long period of preparation, a candidate may have to make difficult choices and changes of lifestyle.

The anointing with the Oil of Catechumens comes to guide and help the candidate on the journey.

The 3rd oil blessed is the Oil of the Sick. This celebrates God’s healing and caring presence when one is ill and in need of support.

The readings today are very challenging for all of us. They call on us to

          be good news to the poor,

          bind up hearts that are broken,

          proclaim liberty to captives,

          comfort all those who mourn.

When we are faithful to this, we are close to Christ.

May the Lord guide each of us on our journey..

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