Holy Thursday


The Paschal Triduum begins with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Holy Thursday comes  between Lent, which is ending, and the Triduum, which is begining. The connecting thread of this day’s entire celebration, the light illuminating everything, is Christ’s Paschal Mystery: the very heart of the event that is renewed in the sacramental signs.

The sacred action centers on the Supper in which Jesus, before giving himself over to death, entrusted to the Church the testament of his love, the Sacrifice of the eternal covenant. “While he was instituting the Eucharist as an everlasting memorial of himself and his paschal sacrifice, he symbolically placed this supreme act of revelation in the light of his mercy. Within the very same context of mercy, Jesus entered upon his passion and death, conscious of the great mystery of love that he would consummate on the Cross.”

The liturgy leads us in a real and vivid way into this mystery of Jesus’ self-giving for our salvation. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.Our Lord’s fiat that is the source of our salvation becomes present in the Church’s celebration. Thus the Collect has no hesitation in including us, in the present tense, in the Last Supper: Sacratissimam, Deus, frequentatibus Cenam…, the Latin says succinctly, “O God, who have called us to participate in this most sacred Supper…”

This is “the most sacred day on which our Lord Jesus Christ was handed over for our sake.”Jesus’ words, I go away, and I will come to you . . . it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you,point us towards the mysterious tension between our Lord’s absence and presence that presides over the whole Paschal Triduum and, from there, the Church’s entire life. Therefore neither Holy Thursday nor the days that follow it are simply days of sadness or mourning: to see the Holy Triduum in that way would be to go back to the situation of the disciples before the Resurrection. 

“This is the source of the joy we feel on Holy Thursday—the realization that the Creator has loved his creatures to such an extent.”To perpetuate in the world the infinite affection concentrated in his Paschal Mystery, in his passage from this world to the Father, Jesus makes a gift to us of his entire being, with his Body and his Blood, in a new memorial: the bread and wine that are turned into “the bread of life” and “our spiritual drink.” Our Lord tells them that, in the future, they are to do what he has just done, in commemoration of him.And thus the Paschal celebration of the Church, the Holy Eucharist, is born.

Two moments in the celebration are very eloquent, if we consider them in their mutual relation: the washing of the feet and the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. The washing of the feet of the Twelve makes manifest, a few hours before the Crucifixion, the greatest love: laying down one’s life for one’s friends.The liturgy renews this gesture, which so surprised the apostles, in the proclamation of the Gospel and in the possibility of washing the feet of some of the faithful. At the conclusion of the Mass, the procession to reserve the Blessed Sacrament and the adoration of the faithful reveals the Church’s loving response to our Lord’s humble kneeling before the Apostles’ feet. These moments of silent prayer, extended into the night, invite us to remember Christ’s priestly prayer in the Cenacle.


More on the activities in Holy Week from “Holy Week: He loved them to the end” @ www.opusdei.org

Some Tips 

Here are some basic points we can all take care off as we observe these great days in the History of Christianity.

  • Go to Mass/Service on time. Actually being seated and recollected before it begins is definetly worth it especially in this week.
  • Dress appropriately. Though all held at dusk, these days of the easter triduum are high points in the church. We have to look it too.
  • Get a good sitting position away from distractions. This varies according to persons but we generally know that being behind or outside the walls of the church can be the best way to remain distracted. It’s okay to sit in the front pews. You will see and hear clearly and two senses work better than one!
  • Use a Missal/Order of Mass. There are usually booklets for Holy Week on sale in the parishes.Ask for it, get it and use it. That is one sure way of particilating fully.
  • Sing or chant along with the choir and lay faithful. A not-too-good singing voice is no excuse (just keep it low and you will be fine). Besides, one who sings prays twice and we do need all the prayers don’t we?
  • Spend quality time (as much as you can sincerly afford) with our Lord in the Altar of Repose.
  • Clean out your homes, making ready to recieve our Lord.
  • Contribute in any way you can towards the activities eg. buying flowers for the altar of repose, offering to clean the church and decorate, purchasing the Paschal candle etc.

In Afara

We are also making ready to accompany our Lord closely in his passion. We will have all the holy week activities at afara and you are HEREBY CORDIALLY INVITED TO JOIN US IF YOU CAN. (You can get our timetable on request). Also note that the PRIEST will be available…
Worthy of special mention is the Holy Thursday evening mass of the Lord’s supper, which culminates in the transfer of our Lord in the Eucharist, to a pre-prepared ALTAR OF REPOSE for the VIGIL.

Importantly, the ALTAR OF REPOSE is prepared to befit our messiah by adorning it with a variety of life flowers, etc. Certainly, you would love to contribute towards this show of affection for our lord. We ardently ask for your DONATION towards the purchase of the flowers needed!!! 🌹🌷💐

We look forward to getting a response from you soonest, regarding the invite to participate and your financial contribution.👍
With your help, we will make Jesus proud of Us all!
Wishing you a grace-filled Easter! 😇

Published by Afara Leadership Centre

Afara Leadership Centre was set up in 1987 to provide an enabling environment for total personal development as well as growth in leadership skills and values for young women in their years of secondary and tertiary education. It is located at 25 Thorburn Avenue, off Montgomery, Yaba, Lagos State, Nigeria. It is a project of Women’s Board of the Education Cooperation Society, a Nigerian not-for-profit, non-governmental organization. The spiritual formation given in the Centre is entrusted to Opus Dei, an institution of the Catholic Church

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