Maundy Thursday begins Triduum

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Easter Triduum begins today with Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday.

In observance of Maundy Thursday, several churches throughout the county will have special Holy Thursday and Tenebrae services tonight, which commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.

The Rev. Michael Lawler of Brundidge United Methodist Church said the scriptures from Matthew 26:26-28 read, “As they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it and brake it and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And, he took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, ‘For this is my blood of the new testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’”

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“The disciples received a mandate from Jesus to ‘Do this in remembrance of me until I come again,’” Lawler said. “In doing this, Jesus established a new ceremony, the Last Supper, to replace the Passover.”

The Maundy Thursday service includes Holy Communion and the Tenebrae service.

Tenebrae is Latin for “shadows” or “darkness” and is distinguished by the gradual extinguishing of candles while a series of readings are recited.

“Tenebrae includes the 14 Stations of the Cross beginning with the Last Supper in the Upper Room and ending with the burial of Jesus,” Lawler said. “There is a gradual lowering of the lights until all of the lights have been extinguished, symbolizing that Christ, the Light of the World, has been taken from us.”

The congregation is asked to leave the church under the cloak of darkness and in silence.

“The church remains dark until Easter morning when our Savior and Lord returns,” Lawler said. “The Maundy Thursday Service is very meaningful and prepares us for the joy of Easter morning.”

St. Martin Catholic Church in Troy will have special Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

“Following the homily, I will wash the feet of 12 men which is a re-enactment of what our Lord did on the night before he died,” said the Rev. Den Irwin, pastor at St. Martin. “At the end of Mass, we will have a special procession … and place Holy Communion at the Altar of Repose.”

From that point until midnight the church will be open for a time of quiet prayer.

“The idea is to be with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane during those hours,” Irwin said.

Maundy Thursday services will be held at 7 p.m. at Brundidge United Methodist Church, First United Methodist Church of Troy and St. Martin Catholic Church among others.

On Good Friday, the Catholic Church is open for the Stations of the Cross prayers at 3:15 p.m. The Stations of the Cross are a series of meditations and prayers that follow Jesus’ last hours from condemnation to death. A Veneration of the Cross service begins at 7 p.m. Easter Vigil Mass begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday.