Derived from the Latin word mandatum, meaning "commandment," Maundy refers to the commands Jesus gave his disciples at the Last Supper: to love with humility by serving one another and to remember his sacrifice. Maundy Thursday is observed during Holy Week on the Thursday before Easter. Also referred to as "Holy Thursday" or "Great Thursday" in some Christian denominations.
Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples on the night before he was crucified. In contrast to joyful Easter celebrations when Christians worship their resurrected Savior, Maundy Thursday services are typically more solemn occasions, marked by the shadow of Jesus' betrayal.
While different denominations observe Maundy Thursday in their own distinct ways, two important biblical events are the primary focus of Maundy Thursday solemnizations:
Before the Passover meal, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. By performing this lowly act of service, the Bible says in John 13:1 that Jesus "showed them the full extent of his love." By his example, Jesus demonstrated how Christians are to love one another through humble service. For this reason, many churches practice foot-washing ceremonies as a part of their Maundy Thursday services.
Besides the command of mutual love among disciples, Holy [Maundy] Thursday commemorates the institution of the priesthood and of the Eucharist. During the Passover meal, Jesus took bread, bless, broke it and gave it to his disciples, and said, "This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." Then he took the cup of wine, shared it with his disciples and said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you" (Luke 22:19-20). His command to "do this in memory of me" in effect initiated the priesthood and the Blessed Sacrament of Holy Communion.
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Passion (Palm) Sunday and Observance of World Youth Day
Saturday at Holy Name of Mary, Sunday at the Cathedral
The technical centre in the cathedral sacristy for Radio-Canada's broadcast of the Palm Sunday/World Youth Day Mass live on Jour du Seigneur
"Dear friends in Christ, for five weeks of Lent we have been preparing, by works of charity and self-sacrifice, for the celebration of our Lord's paschal mystery..."
Some of the youth of Almonte
"Today we joyfully acclaim Jesus our Messiah and King. May we reach one day the happiness of the new and everlasting Jerusalem by faithfully following him who lives and reigns forever and ever."
Carrying the palm
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Tuesday evening Chrism Mass in the Cathedral
In addition to the Chrism Mass itself, a number of events are arranged for the priests as they gather.
First there is a Penitential Service of Hymns, readings, reflection (this year given by Father Andrea Spatafora, MSF, Dean of the Faculty of Theology at St. Paul's University), examination of conscience and the celebration of the Sacrament of Confession.
Then, all are invited to my residence for a cocktail and canapes before a festive meal in the Cathedral Parish Hall at which the priests celebrating a special anniversary are honoured. The speeches are few; we try to get to know one another, the diocesan clergy, religious priests and student priests who live and minister in the Archdiocese.
During the Chrism Mass those jubilarians who are present are the principle concelebrants; we also recall the priests who have been called home by the Lord since our last gathering.
Some photos (those of the Mass are yet to come):
Priests celebrate reconciliation by taking turns confessing one another in the pews
A new photo album is being prepared to mark the Year of the Priesthood (the last one was in 2002); signing up for a photo session took place until Mass time
Conversations after the reconciliation service
Celebrating the priesthood with an aperitif, joy in each other's company
|Some of this year's jubilarians (25, 40, 50, 55 years of ordination)
Priests and deacons vest for the Chrism Mass
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Wednesday evening Tenebrae at Notre Dame Cathedral
Last evening, I was pleased to preside at Tenebrae, a service of Scripture readings and hymnody. We only had nine candles and the last one, representing Christ was not hidden, nor was there a loud noise (strepitus) as in the description below (excerpted from Wikipedia's treatment).
Dominican service of Tenebrae in Oxford has a "hearse" with fifteen candles (website: www.Godzdogz.op.org)
Tenebrae (Latin for 'shadows' or 'darkness') is a Christian religious service celebrated by the Western Church on the evening before or early morning of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, which are the last three days of Holy Week. The distinctive ceremony of Tenebrae is the gradual extinguishing of candles while a series of readings and psalms are chanted or recited. In the Roman Rite of the Roman Catholic Church the Tenebrae readings and psalms are those of Matins and Lauds.
The structure of Tenebrae is the same for all three days. The first part of the service is Matins, which in its pre-1970 form is composed of three nocturns, each consisting of three psalms, a short versicle and response, a silent Pater Noster, and three readings, each followed by a responsory. Pre-1970 Lauds consists of five psalms, a short versicle and response, and the Benedictus Gospel canticle, followed by Christus factus est, a silent Pater Noster, a devotional recitation of Psalm 50 (51), Miserere, and the appointed collect.
The principal Tenebrae ceremony is the gradual extinguishing of candles upon a stand in the sanctuary called a hearse. Eventually the Roman Rite settled on fifteen candles, one of which is extinguished after each of the nine psalms of Matins and the five of Lauds, gradually reducing the lighting throughout the service.
The six altar candles are put out during the Benedictus, and then any remaining lights in the church. The last candle is hidden beneath the altar, ending the service in total darkness.
The strepitus (Latin for "great noise"), made by slamming a book shut, banging a hymnal or breviary against the pew, or stomping on the floor, symbolizes the earthquake that followed Christ's death, although it may have originated as a simple signal to depart.
Following the great noise, the candle which had been hidden from view is returned to the top of the hearse, signifying the return of Christ to the world with the Resurrection, and all depart in silence.
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The WAY OF THE CROSS (Tenth Station): Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
Lord Jesus Christ, fill our hearts with the light of your Spirit, so that by following you on your final journey we may come to know the price of our Redemption and become worthy of a share in the fruits of your Passion, Death and Resurrection. You who live and reign for ever and ever.
The WAY OF THE CROSS (Eleventh Station): Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross
May your mercy, O Lord, cleanse the people that serve you from every infection of ancient ways and make them ready for holy renewal. Through Christ our Lord.