It is Maundy Thursday. The most sacred night on which our Saviour, Jesus Christ, instituted the Mass, washed the feet of his disciples and endured an agonising night in the garden of Gethsemane. In happier times our parish would be gathering in great number this evening for Mass that would end with a vigil of prayer before the sacrament until Midnight.
But this year we are not allowed to gather together for fear of sickness and death. Instead Father Nicholas and myself, unable to stand together at the altar because of social distancing protocols, will lead a service in the presence of my family only but live streamed to the faithful via our parish Facebook page. Do please join us at 7pm.
The reception of holy oils, which normally occurs at the beginning of the Maundy Thursday Mass, cannot happen this year because the Chrism mass has been postponed. We priests must continue to use the oils from last year but we will, however, make our annual vows to the Ordinary via the internet this morning.
Nor can we conduct the ceremony of foot-washing for pretty obvious reasons. And nor can we process at the end of Mass for a Vigil in the Sacred heart chapel which is our custom. Instead the Mass this evening will be much more simple than usual but no less reverent and efficacious. I will be praying that those who engage with it prayerfully in their homes receive special grace from God. I am so sorry you cannot attend in person. Truly this year it is, as the Maundy hymn attests, a night, dear friends, for weeping.