Holy Thursday- The Mass of the Lord's Supper - 7pm
Tonight we celebrate the Institution of the Eucharist; given by Christ to the Church at the Last Supper. We also celebrate the Institution of the Priesthood; given by Christ to the Church for the service of his people and the perpetual re-presentation of the Last Supper at the Mass.
The priests will perform the Mandatum. Mandatum is a Latin word that roughly means mandatory or commandment. At the Last Supper (Gospel of John, chapter 13), after Jesus had washed the feet of his Apostles, he then said to them, "As I have washed your feet, so you know must now wash one another's feet." This is the mandatory action that Jesus commands. At Mass, our parish priests will wash the feet of 12 parishioners: an act of humility that reminds both the priest and the congregation that the priesthood, and the Eucharist, is about service and about remembering what Jesus did for us.
Following the celebration of the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament will be removed from the Main Tabernacle and placed on the Altar of Repose, there to held in prayer until midnight. All are invited to pray infront of the Blessed Sacrament between 9-12pm. (There is also a tradition in which one can travel to 3, 5 or 7 churches before midnight and offer prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament in those churches. This, by the way, is a great time for families to be together and pray together.)
Finally, the Altar and Sanctuary are "stripped". All the appointments that adorn our sanctuary are removed: a symbolic act that reflects the reality of Jesus being falsely tried, convicted and sentenced to death.
I hope you will consider "making" the Triduum with us. I promise you that these three evenings spent in prayer will be inspiring and fruitful.
With Peace and Prayers for you this Triduum,