On Holy Thursday, Catholics gather for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. This mass commemorates the last supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples, when the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharist took place. Holy Thursday Mass marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Triduum.
Holy Thursday is not a holy day of obligation, but attending as a family can be a significant spiritual experience for Catholics. This mass is marked by several significant differences from usual celebrations of mass:
- The tabernacle is empty.
- Unlike during the rest of Lent, the Gloria is sung.
- There is a washing of the feet after the homily, to remember how Jesus washed the feet of the apostles.
- Additional hosts are consecrated, to provide enough for the Holy Thursday mass and for Good Friday services, when no consecration takes place.
- At the end of mass, there is a procession to a place of repose for the consecrated hosts for Good Friday.
- The altar is stripped of altar-cloths and other ornaments.
- Eucharistic adoration is held at many churches, for some period of time. This is to commemorate keeping watch with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The Triduum is one event, so also plan to be at your local parish church for Good Friday services and the Easter Vigil. This is our faith. It is so important that we pass it on to our youth in all of its fullness.