Recalling Holy Thursday

Carmel Bulletin, 14 May 2014

The Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper is the beginning of the Easter Triduum.  It is the first part of the extended three-day celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.  It is the only Mass we are permitted to celebrate in the parish on Holy Thursday.

Each part of the Triduum has a ritual element that makes it unique.  While the Missal states that it is optional, the Washing of Feet is particular to Holy Thursday, and many people gather to engage in this unique and moving ritual.

Bowl, jug of water and stool for the Washing of FeetThe Latin name for the Washing of Feet, the mandatum, not only lends itself to one of the names for this day (Maundy Thursday), but indicates the focus of this ritual and of this Eucharistic celebration.  The point of this ritual is that Christ gives a mandatum novum (new commandment) to love one another as he loved his disicples; a love so great that he would kneel like a servant to wash their feet, and sacrifice himself so that we all may have eternal life.  This ritual is also preceded by the proclamation of the only gospel account of the original mandatum (John 13:1-15).

The Last Supper is intended to sustain the apostles as they live their lives beyond that moment, just as the Eucharist is intended to nourish and sustain us beyond the Mass as we go out and ‘wash the feet’ of those we encounter.  Thus, the only account of the Last Supper in this celebration is that in the Eucharistic Prayer, when we actually do what Christ gave us to celebrate in his memory.

Neither the Washing of Feet nor the Last Supper are intended to be mere reenactments.  Each one of them has a memorial dimension, but they also make Christ present amongst us now, and change and transform us today.  They move us to live as disciples today, with our eyes firmly set on the goal that is complete unity with Christ when we take our place at the eternal banquet of heaven.

24/3/13 – Holy Week

Fr John and Severs showing the cross, Good Friday 2009

Today we begin once again to approach the most holy days of the entire liturgical year.  We invite you all to participate in the celebrations of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

Our Penitential Service is on Tuesday at 7:30 pm, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated on Good Friday, from 9:30 to 10:30 am.

Bishop Anthony will celebrate the Chrism Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday at 7:30 pm.  At this Mass, the oils that will be used in the celebration of the sacraments over the next year will be blessed, and the Sacred Chrism consecrated.  They will be presented to Fr Paul and representatives of our parish, and presented in our church prior to the commencement of the Holy Thursday evening Mass.

There is not a morning Mass on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday.  The Easter Triduum begins with the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 pm. The Parish Centre is reserved on this evening as the altar of repose for the Blessed Sacrament.  The main church doors will be used, with the parish centre entrance reserved for mobility access only.  Please bring your Project Compassion box with you and Vinnies food donations also and place them in the baskets provided.

Stations of the Cross will be prayed on Good Friday at 9:00 am.  The church will remain open during the day for those who wish to come and pray, with a Syro-Malabar Rite service during the day as well.  The main celebration of this day is the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00 pm.

If you have flowers to contribute to the Marian Shrine or other saints at Easter, please bring these down to the parish centre on Holy Saturday from 9:00 am – 10:00 am.  The main celebration of this day and the entire Easter Triduum is The Easter Vigil at 7:30 pm.

Finally, Easter Sunday Masses will be celebrated at 7:00 am, 9:00 am and 10:30 am only.  To close the celebration of the Easter Triduum, we invite you to join us for Evening Prayer (Vespers) at 6:00 pm.

24/4/11 – The Easter Triduum

Today brings to a conclusion the great celebration of the Easter Triduum.  Once the sun set on Thursday, we entered into this celebration with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.  The second part of this three-day celebration took place on Friday afternoon with the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.  Finally, we resumed our celebration on Saturday evening by participating in the high-point of the entire liturgical year – the Easter Vigil Mass.

Each of these parts of the Easter Triduum is characterised by liturgical rituals that are unique to these great three days.

Washing of the FeetAt the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Fr Paul knelt down before his parishioners and washed their feet.  In this ritual, we are reminded of Christ’s commandment to love one another, and the way Jesus challenged the disciples to live out this command.  We engage in the washing of feet each year not as some role-play or historical reenactment, but because we too, as disciples of Jesus, are called not to be served, but to serve.

Veneration of the CrossOn Good Friday, hundreds of us came forward to venerate the cross.  On this day, we celebrate what is very much our Good Friday.  Although Christ died as he hung upon the wood of the cross, as the ritual reminds us, Christ is the salvation of the world.  We continue through to Easter with the hope of that salvation.

Service of LightFinally, the Easter Vigil begins with the Service of Light.  The pillar of fire led the Israelites at that first Passover, through suffering and slavery to new life.  Our pillar of fire, the Paschal candle, leads us to our celebration of Christ’s Passover, his passing over from death to new life.  Guided by the light of Christ, we recall the history of our salvation, celebrate the resurrection, and initiate new Christians into Christ and his Church.

May God bless you all during this time, and over the fifty joyful days of the Easter season.