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The Meaning of Holy Thursday: 5 Essential Facts Every Catholic Should Know

On the Thursday of Holy Week, we recall the first Passover meal, also known as The Last Supper.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind on this day:

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

1) Also called Maundy Thursday.

*Maundy also means commandment.

On Holy Thursday, Jesus commanded us to love one another, saying: “Love one another, just as I have loved you, you should also love one another.” (John 13:34)

2) Jesus washed his disciples’ feet.

“If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (John 13: 14-15)

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

3) Jesus instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood.

Jesus commanded his apostles to “do this in memory” and to celebrate the Eucharist until his return.

The institution of the Eucharist is mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is also shared in Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. (Mt. 26:17-29; Mk. 14:12-25; Lk. 22:7-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26)

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

4) Holy Thursday is the beginning of the Paschal Triduum.

This day is followed by Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Each of these days is significant as we prepare for Easter Sunday!

5) Following Mass, we adore the Blessed Sacrament at the Altar of Repose.

The faithful are invited to join in adoration and there is no traditional dismissal from Holy Thursday Mass.

Here’s a special litany to pray during this time:

Litany of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Click here if you cannot see the video above.

Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy, Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us, Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us, Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

O Living Bread, Who from Heaven descended, have mercy on us.
Hidden God and Savior, have mercy on us.
Grain of the elect, have mercy on us.
Vine sprouting forth virgins, have mercy on us.
Wholesome Bread and delicacy of kings, have mercy on us.
Perpetual sacrifice, have mercy on us.
Clean oblation, have mercy on us.
Lamb without spot, have mercy on us.
Most pure feast, have mercy on us.
Food of Angels, have mercy on us.
Hidden manna, have mercy on us.
Memorial of God’s wonders, have mercy on us.
Super substantial Bread, have mercy on us.
Word made flesh, dwelling in us, have mercy on us.
Holy Victim, have mercy on us.

O Cup of blessing, have mercy on us.
O Mystery of faith, have mercy on us.
O Most high and venerable Sacrament, have mercy on us.
O Most holy of all sacrifices, have mercy on us.
O True propitiatory Sacrifice for the living and the dead, have mercy on us.
O Heavenly antidote, by which we are preserved from sin, have mercy on us.
O stupendous miracle above all others, have mercy on us.
O most holy Commemoration of the Passion of Christ, have mercy on us.
O Gift transcending all abundance, have mercy on us.
O extraordinary memorial of Divine love, have mercy on us.
O affluence of Divine largess, have mercy on us.
O most holy and august mystery, have mercy on us.

Medicine of immortality, have mercy on us.
Awesome and life-giving Sacrament, have mercy on us.
Unbloody Sacrifice, have mercy on us.
Food and guest, have mercy on us.
Sweetest banquet at which the Angels serve, have mercy on us.
Bond of love, have mercy on us.
Offering and oblation, have mercy on us.
Spiritual sweetness tasted in its own fountain, have mercy on us.
Refreshment of holy souls, have mercy on us.
Viaticum of those dying in the Lord, have mercy on us.
Pledge of future glory, have mercy on us.

Be merciful, spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord.

From the unworthy reception of Thy Body and Blood, deliver us, O Lord.
From passions of the flesh, deliver us, O Lord.
From the concupiscence of the eyes, deliver us, O Lord.
From pride, deliver us, O Lord.
From every occasion of sin, deliver us, O Lord.
Through that desire, with which Thou desiredst to eat the Passover with Thy disciples, deliver us, O Lord.
Through that profound humility with which Thou didst wash Thy disciples’ feet, deliver us, O Lord.
Through that most ardent love, with which Thou instituted this Divine Sacrament, deliver us, O Lord.
Through the most precious Blood, which Thou hast left for us upon the altar, deliver us, O Lord.
Through those Five Wounds of Thy most holy Body, which was given up for us, deliver us, O Lord.

Sinners we are, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou wouldst graciously preserve and augment the faith, reverence, and devotion in us towards this admirable Sacrament, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou wouldst graciously lead us through the true confession of we beseech Thee, hear us.
our sins to a frequent reception of the Eucharist, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou wouldst graciously free us from every heresy, falsehood, and blindness of the heart, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou wouldst graciously impart to us the Heavenly and precious fruits of this most Holy Sacrament, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou wouldst graciously protect and strengthen us in our hour of death with this Heavenly Viaticum, we beseech Thee, hear us.

O Son of God, we beseech Thee, hear us.
Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord.
Christ, hear us, Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us, Christ, graciously hear us.
Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy, Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy.

Pray 1 Our Father and 1 Hail Mary

V. Thou didst furnish them with Bread from Heaven, Alleluia.
R. Having in it every delight.

Let us pray: O God, Who under a marvelous Sacrament has left us a memorial of Thy Passion; grant us; we beseech Thee; so to venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within us the fruit of Thy Redemption. Thou, Who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.

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