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Maundy Thursday: Chrism Mass signifies unity of bishops with priests in their diocese.

By Christina Hermoso

Roman Catholic Church leaders traditionally observe Maundy Thursday with the holding of the Chrism Mass and the renewal of priestly vows.

Archbishops and bishops across the country, together with the priests in their respective archdioceses and dioceses, will celebrate the symbolic Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday, as a manifestation of the unity of the priests with their bishop.

Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos said, the Chrism Mass "is one of the principal expressions of the fullness of the bishops' priesthood and signifies the unity of the priests with him. It also highlights that we are God's coworkers," he said.

"With the Chrism Mass, we are reminded that we belong to God and that, we must become like Jesus who suffered for our sake. Like Jesus, we (churchmen) are also willing to make sacrifices to save lives, to heal, and help those who are in need, not to harm nor hurt our people," Santos said.

A tradition rooted in the early Church, rites will include the blessing by the bishop of the three oils which will be used in the administration of the sacraments of the diocese for the year - the oil of catechumens to be used for the administration of the sacrament of baptism, the oil of infirm for the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, and the holy chrism for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and holy orders. The renewal of priestly vows has also been incorporated into the Chrism Mass, which is usually preceded by a morning prayer.

At the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle will preside over the Morning Prayer at 6:30 a.m., followed by the Chrism Mass at 7 a.m. His Eminence will also preside over the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper at 5 p.m. and the reenactment of the Washing of the Feet during the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper where 12 representatives from different sectors will represent the twelve apostles of Christ. A procession taking the Blessed Sacrament (Holy Host) to the Altar of Repose will also be held.

In Rome, Pope Francis will bless the holy oils at the St. Peter's Basilica at 9:30 a.m. during a special mass.

Maundy Thursday rites

One popular Maundy Thursday tradition that has been carried on for generations is the Visita Iglesia, a visit to seven churches or to 14 churches as a pilgrimage to pray the Way of the Cross, praying one station in each church.

In all Catholic churches and chapels, all the images will be veiled in purple until the start of the Easter Vigil on the night of Black Saturday. The altar cross, if it is not the cross to be used for the veneration on Good Friday, is also traditionally veiled.

The shrouding of the images is commonly done in many parishes after the Mass of the Lord's Supper. "The veiling in purple serves to remind the faithful of the solemnity of the Holy Week and to help avoid distractions," said the Catholic Culture.

Confessional services will be extended to allow more churchgoers to go to confession. The Paschal Triduum, a three-day tradition, begins Thursday night and culminates with the evening prayer on the night of Black Saturday during the Easter Vigil. Some will also visit the adoration chapel during the hours of adoration from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight following the Mass of the Lord's Supper.

"Maundy" comes from the Latin word "mandatum," which means command and has reference to the commandment that Jesus taught His apostles during the Last Supper. He said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another just as I have loved you. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."


Bishop Ruperto Santos (CBCP / MANILA BULLETIN)
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Title Annotation:Faith
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Apr 17, 2019
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