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Friday, June 2, 2023

What is Maundy Thursday? Why do we observe it?

Maundy Thursday is the day when Jesus Christ created the sacrament of Holy Communion prior to his arrest and crucifixion.

On Maundy Thursday, what do we remember? and How is it honored?

Maundy Thursday, also called Holy Thursday or Sheer Thursday, the Thursday before Easter is observed in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper. It marks the paschal Triduum, the time when Christians remember Jesus’s suffering, death, and resurrection.

It is thought that on this day, Jesus and His disciples enjoyed their very last Passover together. Maundy, which refers to Jesus’ words, “I offer you a new commandment,” is derived from the Latin word mandatum, or commandment. The disciples were given the directive by Jesus to love one another just as He had loved them.

Prior to his arrest and crucifixion, Jesus Christ created the sacrament of Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday. It also honors the priesthood He established. In contrast to the “priesthood of all Christians,” Christ establishes a priesthood for his disciples by bathing the disciples’ feet, preparing them to serve as the first priests.

The day’s liturgical color is either white or gold, in remembrance of the Holy Communion. The Gloria is sung at Mass on its formalities. The Chrism Mass and the Mass of the Lord’s Supper are held on Maundy Thursday. Oils used in sacraments, including as baptism and confirmation, as well as other oils, are blessed and given to churches at the first Chrism.

The second liturgy of the day is the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus observed the meal as a Passover celebration. Christ would carry out His role as the Passover victim for Christians in order for His ultimate sacrifice to save everyone. During this Passover meal in Jerusalem, Jesus’ farewell meal with his disciples was known as the “last supper.”

The central observance of Maundy Thursday is the ritual reenactment of the Last Supper at Mass. This event is celebrated at every mass, as part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, but is specially commemorated on Holy Thursday. The establishment of the priesthood is reenacted too with the priest washing the feet of several parishioners. The congregation is warmly welcome to participate in the washing of the feet. In accordance with popular belief, those who consume the flesh and blood of Jesus will experience eternal life.

The body of Christ is carried in procession to the lower church after Holy Thursday Mass and set up on a temporary “Altar of Repose” apart from the sanctuary. The faithful usually make a procession to this altar and spend some time in contemplative prayer and worship.


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