On Thursday of Holy Week (Maundy Thursday) the Church celebrates the three pillars of the Catholic Church instituted by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper: the priesthood, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the Holy Eucharist.
This is the traditional day for priests to gather with their bishop at the Chrism Mass, to receive oils blessed by the bishop and to publicly renew their priestly promises. In the evening the Church celebrates the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. After this Mass the altar is stripped bare and the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the Tabernacle and processed to a separate altar of repose. Here the Blessed Sacrament is adored until late in the night to commemorate the time Jesus spent in Garden of Gethsemane in agonizing prayer, the start of his Passion. The Blessed Sacrament is then taken away and hidden until the Easter Vigil in memory of Our Lord’s death and burial.
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Suggested Prayer of the Faithful
(Each local community should compose its own Universal Prayer, but may find inspiration in the texts proposed here.)
On this blessed night, we recall the great graces of the Last Supper as we pray:
For the Church: that in the gesture of the washing of the feet the Church will rededicate herself to the life of service and sacrificial self-giving.
That on this night in which the Lord establishes the priesthood, all priests will recommit themselves to holiness with renewed zeal.
That the power of the Holy Eucharist will transform the hearts of all people so that Christ will become the source and summit of their life.
That Christ’s Passion will generate lasting peace in the world.
That all will live with a strong awareness of Christ’s Real Presence and offer their lives to him in friendship.
That all those who suffer will find consolation and blessing in their conformity to Christ crucified.
Most merciful Father, in the sacrifice of your Son is revealed the meaning of our life. May his love penetrate all that we love so that it becomes truer and purer. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
from Magnificat Magazine, April 1, 2021
Since Holy Thursday celebrates the institution of the Eucharist as the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, and the institution of the Sacrament of the Priesthood, it is also the traditional day for the celebration of the Chrism Mass, when priests renew their priestly promises.
[The Chrism Mass] speaks of Christ, whom God anointed King and Priest – of him who makes us sharers in his priesthood, in his ‘anointing,’ through our own priestly ordination.”
Pope Benedict XVI
The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white host.”
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
When you kneel before an altar, do it in such a way that others may be able to recognize that you know before whom you kneel.”
Saint Maximilian Kolbe
Saint Joseph, patron of the universal church, pray for us.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.