Triduum Commences on Holy Thursday, in Images

Holy Thursday commemorates several of the most important acts in our Catholic Faith.

  • The Institution of the source and summit of our Faith, the Most Holy Eucharist
  • Ordination of the Apostles by Our Lord
  • Our Lord’s Mandatum to the Apostles with the washing of the feet
  • The Chrism Mass, where the bishop consecrates the three oils for the next year, that of Confirmation and Consecration of Bishops, of Baptism and Ordination of Priests, and that of Extreme Unction

There can only be one Mass for the day, and the Mass of Holy Thursday begins in full regalia, with the altars and priests dressed in white. The long Lenten omission of the Gloria is forgotten as it is sung in Mass, and the Gospel of the day is Saint John’s account of the washing of the feet.

After the Gospel, the celebrant washes the feet of twelve men in the parish.  In Rome the Holy Father traditionally washes the feet of twelve priests.  The rest of Mass continues as usual, whereafter the Hosts necessary to administer Communion on Good Friday, called the Repository, are processed in silence to an altar of repose, where the faithful may adore Our Lord, as He admonished, “And He cometh to His disciples, and findeth them asleep, and He saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me? Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak.” (Matthew 26: 40-41)

Services after the Mass are then completed with signs of mourning: altars are stripped of their garments, stripped of any ornamentation, the tabernacle door is left open, and the lights of the sanctuary are extinguished. This act both mourns Our Lord’s coming Passion, and signifies that no Sacrifice will be offered until Holy Saturday has ended with the commencement of Mass at midnight.

What follows are a gallery of images from the Holy Thursday Mass at Saint Michael the Archangel, our apostolate parish in Scranton, PA.

April 5, 2013