So it begins. The Triduum is the name given to three sacred and venerable liturgies that take place on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Together these services enable Catholics to partake in the events of Christ’s Passion. All Christians should make worship of God their first priority from today until Sunday. For this is the great feast of our Salvation. To simply roll up on Easter day is to arrive too late – for you will have been absent as the drama unfolds on the greatest event in human history.
So make sure that you are present at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 8pm tonight, at the Good Friday liturgy at 3pm tomorrow and on Saturday evening at 8pm for the Paschal Vigil when the resurrection is announced.
First up then is Maundy Thursday when we will commemorate the institution of the Last Supper and remember Our Lord’s command – that we should serve one another as demonstrated by the washing of feet. The liturgy begins in a spirit of great joy, as we rejoice at the institution of the Mass, but the mood shifts dramatically at the end of Mass as a darkness falls over the church and it is stripped bare, we are now visibly losing Our Lord. The long vigil of silence begins – a recollection of Jesus’ agony in the garden.
The Mass of the Last Supper has four distinct liturgical acts:
The Reception of Holy Oils
The sacred oils, regularly used in parish life for the celebration of the Sacraments, are blessed afresh each year, by a bishop, at the Chrism Mass where priests also renew their vows. The oils are formally presented within the parish this evening, by representatives of the congregation, before being housed in an ambry situated in our Lady Chapel.
The Washing of Feet
The priest re-enacts the ceremony of the washing of feet, known as the ‘Maundy’. It is a visible sign of humble service to which all Christians are called, especially those in holy orders.
The Institution of the Holy Mass
Holy Mass is celebrated daily by Catholics. It is our central act of worship, the source and summit of ecclesial life, and instituted by Christ himself at the Last Supper. Jesus broke bread for the first time during the Jewish feast of Passover proclaiming himself to be the true ‘lamb of God’ who takes away the sin of the world.
The Procession of the Blessed Sacrament & Watch
After Mass the Sacrament is processed to an altar of repose, which is situated in our Sacred Heart Chapel. The altar is adorned with flowers to represent the garden of Gethsemane. Here it will remain and a watch will be kept until Midnight. People remain in church for private devotion. We keep watch with Our Lord as we prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming horrors we must recollect on Good Friday.