Fr Christopher Jamison joins the BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show to give his ‘Pause for Thought’ – Wednesday, 29 June 2016.
His reflection focuses on the anointing of priests hands at ordinations and what this means.
Today is a special day for me. 38 years ago I was ordained as a Catholic priest. This is a favourite day for ordinations because it’s the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the great apostles of Jesus who founded the first Christian communities across the world. At ordination, a bishop anoints the hands of the new priest with oil, a sign that the priest’s hands will carry out sacred duties of healing, forgiveness and transformation. One of the most amazing parts of being ordained a priest is that after the ceremony people approach the newly ordained to ask for an individual blessing. After receiving this blessing, people kiss the palm of the priest’s newly anointed hands. I knew this would happen but I was overwhelmed by people kissing my hands with such reverence and affection. My hands have been anointed but, like everybody else’s, these hands of mine have the power to do good or to do evil. We can suffer at someone’s hands or we can be encouraged when people offer to give us a hand. In France, they begin the day by going round their work place shaking hands with everybody. From my experience of working in France, once over the surprise, I found this a wonderful way of acknowledging the contribution of colleagues. So over the airwaves I’m now shaking hands with you all out there as you begin the day to acknowledge how your hands do so many good things. And of course I want to remember especially the thousands of faithful priests around the world who through their anointed hands make God’s presence a reality in the lives of so many. So taking my queue from show biz, I will put my hands together to show my appreciation of them…not only in applause but also in prayer. Amen!