Holy Thursday, Feast of the Lord’s Supper

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The last three days of Holy Week are referred to as the Sacred Triduum, the three-part drama of Christ’s redemption: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Holy Thursday is also known as Maundy Thursday; “maundy” comes from the Latin “mandatum” or “commandment,” which is the first word of the Gospel acclamation:

“Mandátum novum do vobis dicit Dóminus, ut diligátis ínvicem, sicut diléxi vos,” or “I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). These are the words spoken by our Lord to His apostles at the Last Supper, after He completed the washing of the feet.We should imitate Christ’s humility in the washing of the feet. Read more.

Here at Saint Paul the Apostle, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, including the washing of the feet, will take place tonight at 7 p.m. in the Church, followed by Adoration until 11 p.m.

The Sacred Triduum: 18 Questions

The Sacred Paschal Triduum is Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops answers these commonly asked questions with everyone seeking the effective celebration of these most sacred days.

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  1. When does the Triduum begin and end?
    The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday.
  2. May another Mass besides the Mass of the Lord’s Supper be celebrated on Holy Thursday?
    Ordinarily, no other Mass may be celebrated on Holy Thursday. However, by way of exception, the local Ordinary may permit another Mass in churches and oratories to be celebrated in the evening, and, in the case of genuine necessity, even in the morning. Such Masses are provided for those who in no way are able to participate in the evening Mass.
  3. How are the Holy Oils, consecrated and blessed at the Chrism Mass, to be received in the parish?
    A reception of the oils may take place before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The oils, in suitable vessels, can be carried in procession by members of the assembly. A text for this can be found here.
  4. Is the Mandatum, the washing of feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, required?
    No. The Roman Missal only indicates, “After the Homily, where a pastoral reason suggests it [ubi ratio pastoralis id suadeat], the Washing of Feet follows.”

Read the entire Q&A here.