Holy Thursday

Posted by Normita
April 1, 2010

This is a continuing reflections of the celebrations leading to Easter Sunday, as practiced in my hometown.  Holy Thursday is the most awaited day for most local folks to see the colorful procession of the Cordero (Lamb of God), as described below.  

HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances, saving only the Easter Vigil. It celebrates both the institution by Christ Himself of the Eucharist and of the institution of the sacerdotal priesthood (as distinct from the “priesthood of all believers”) for in this, His last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover, He is the self-offered Passover Victim, and every ordained priest to this day presents this same sacrifice, by Christ’s authority and command, in exactly the same way. The Last Supper was also Christ’s farewell to His assembled disciples, some of whom would betray, desert or deny Him before the sun rose again.

On Holy Thursday morning there is a special Mass in Cathedral Churches, celebrated by the bishop and as many priests of the diocese as can attend, because it is a solemn observance of Christ’s institution of the priesthood at the Last Supper. At this “Chrism Mass” the bishop also blesses the Oil of Chrism used for Baptism, Confirmation and Anointing of the sick or dying. The bishop may wash the feet of twelve of the priests, to symbolize Christ’s washing the feet of His Apostles, the first priests.

The evening Holy Thursday Liturgy, marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the sacred “Triduum” (“three days”) of Holy Week, which culminates in the Easter Vigil, and concludes at Vespers on the evening of Easter day (see Paschalis Sollemnitatis, §§ 38-40). The Mass begins in the evening, because Passover began at sundown; it commemorates Our Lord’s institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper. It also shows both the worth God ascribes to the humility of service, and the need for cleansing with water (a symbol of baptism) in the Mandatum, washing, commemorating Jesus’ washing the feet of His apostles, as well as in the priest’s stripping and washing of the altar. Cleansing, in fact, gave this day of Holy Week the name Maundy Thursday.

The action of the Church on this night also witnesses to the Church’s esteem for Christ’s Body present in the consecrated Host in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, carried in solemn procession to the flower-bedecked Altar of Repose, where it will remain “entombed” until the communion service on Good Friday. No Mass will be celebrated again in the Church until the Easter Vigil proclaims the Resurrection.

And finally, there is the continued Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by the people during the night, just as the disciples stayed with the Lord during His agony on the Mount of Olives before the betrayal by Judas.

There is such an abundance of symbolism in the solemn celebration of the events of Holy Thursday layer upon layer, in fact that we can no more than hint at it in these few words. For many centuries, the Last Supper of Our Lord has inspired great works of art and literature, such as the glorious stained glass window in Chartres cathedral (above), Leonardo’s ever popular (and much imitated) Last Supper in the 16th century; and a reminiscence called Holy Thursday, by the French novelist François Mauriac, written in the 1930s. (A chapter of Mauriac’s meditation was reprinted in Voices, Lent-Easter 2002, with permission from Sophia Institute Press).

Source:  http://www.wf-f.org/HolyThurs.html

Here in my hometown, Holy Thursday, as described above is practiced to the letter.  In preparation for the Last Supper, a host prepares a feast to be shared by his guests, church organizations and community people.  A procession is led by the host with a sculpted Lamb placed in a decorated carousel, carried by men who are close family and friends.  This sculpted Lamb (called ‘Cordero’), is prepared with intensity and precision, cooked with eggs, potatoes, milk and bread.  Here’s a description:

 During Holy Week, on Maudy Thursday, the town of Morong (Rizal) hosts a “cordero procession” in mid-afternoon. The cordero (lamb) is shaped out of a mix of mashed potatoes and kamote (sweet potato). -At about 3 pm, the cordero is carried in a festive procession that starts from the home of the hermano to the church of Morong where the cordero is blessed.  After the blessing, the priest cuts the head of the lamb, which is set aside, and the community shares and partake in a feast prepared by the hermano’s family.   The cordero’s head is then brought by the hermano and his wife to the next year’s hermano.

Bob and I were hermano and hermana in 2004.  We elected not to indulge in many gifty items, instead we donated a monstrance to the church, which is used in the Adoration Chapel.  *A monstrance is the vessel used in the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches to display the consecrated Eucharistic Host, during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Source:  http://www.google.com.ph/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:monstrance&ei=R1-zS9-ZEc22rAeF7czyAw&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title&ved=0CAYQkAE

50 thoughts on “Holy Thursday

  1. I hope you’re enjoying this sharing of Easter traditions from many cultures. My posts are not to dictate, nor promote a particular belief. They are just to share, inform and educate. And have fun!

    • Normita, thank you for sharing your traditions.

      I will head back to the previous thread and tell the others that you posted a new thread!

  2. Wednesday night, there was a procession which was delightful and spiritual. There were thirty beautifully decorated statues in carousels on motor and pushed by men, mostly friends and family members of the stewards.I’ll be posting some photos tomorrow. Tonight, I have to say my blessings for having witnessed the beauty of Easter traditions in my hometown. Good night.

  3. I am busy today but will check in later this afternoon to read the thread. thanks Normita.

    CT, we missed the rain in VA yesterday and it is beauttiful today. Just take precautions so mold does not form. You will need to build an ark for your cat!! Water can be such a mess.

    will BBL

  4. Oh my CT, I just read about the flooding from CT to Maine. Stay safe. I had not seen the news for a couple days and had missed what was happening.

    • I was wondering if CT had been affected, I had not heard it from her, but I am sorry CT we are all here hoping for the best…

  5. BBL everyone. Going out to be a docent today… We are waiting for rain here, still stalling over the ocean, not coming in yet… Getting cool and windy… Good night to all if I don’t get back in time.

  6. P.S. Normita – your Easter celebration traditions are so breathtaking. No wonder you miss where you were born. Come back to California soon, it is nice here too…

    • Mary, Easter time is one of the highlights of my existence. Bob embraced it to the fullest – he’s Catholic but has never experienced the kind of celebration we have here.

      But our real home now is in the U.S., where Lanz awaits our return.

  7. I just watched new clips of the NE flooding. They mentioned that parts of I 95 between NYC and Boston are closed. Poor Rhode Island, they looked like they got hit hard.

    Beautiful here–tomorrow is suppose to be like a summert day.

    I was at the hair dressers today and one of the sylists was going on about how unfair the media is. But this time it had nothing to do with politics but rather Toyota. I guess her husband is a saleman for Toyota and they have just had a good month in spite of the controversies. She is upset that the media is only broadcasting the bad news but not the fact that loyal customers are buying and that Ford has had similar problems. I have no facts to back up her statements but I tend to believe her after what I have seen these past two years. There is a corruption in the media not just poor reporting.

  8. Thank you so much for the peaceful thoughts- I shared with a colleague of mine, who shared w/ a colleague of hers…
    I have not been to a Maudy Thursday service in years but am feeling inspired to do so, so I think I will go tomorrow evening-


    • Hi Sue, Maudy/Holy Thursday is full of spiritual reflections that are very biblical, at least it’s still practiced in our part of the world. Thousands of residents who are now living abroad come home during Easter to experience home grown and religious traditions that are unique.

  9. Hi villagers,

    Thank you for sharing that Notmita. I am Catholic but not very active anymore. My dad was very involved in the church here, but he had his mild stroke in the parking lot at mass 3 years ago and he hadn’t been back so I dint go either. He is doing good though.

    I hope you are all well. Happy Easter!’ I am stll around and often think of my villagers!

    • Annette, glad that your dad is doing okay now. If he’s up to it, show him this blog and the blog on Palm Sunday, just to share our traditions in this part of the world.

      Enjoy your Easter time!

  10. Hello Everyone of my Village Family,

    Wow have i missed all of you so much, as i was having problems getting on my internet just got it fixed a couple of hours ago! Whew!! I seemed like ive missed so much and have alot to read up on here.

    But it so good to hear about Normita and Bob’s other home and traditions is so beatiful!

    I love each and everyone of you and hope everyone of you have a very blessed Easter and Easter week! Keep praying for the kids they are really being fought with health problems its amazing me!! But i belive in the power of prayer so much i know they will be well and thank each and everyone of you for the candles and prayers. And just being here. I am praying for all of you also!!

    Im going to try and read some of the last blog and i probably wont be back on tonight , but i will tomorrow!

    The kids are getting so excited about Easter and the little ones finding the Easter eggs LOL it should be fun! Makes me remember when i was little and my Nanny which was my Grandmother more like my mom would make so fun for us by hiding the eggs and i remember when i was little she would always point them out to me when i couldnt find them LOL she was a great women that i miss so much on any Holiday!

    Sleep well and be safe all

    Teri and The Village Kids

    • Teri, all the illnesses and discomforts of the village kids will pass and all will be well again. Give them plenty of village hugs! And you too. We love you too!

  11. Bob and I came home from the celebration of Holy Thursday, done to every detail, then a very simple meal prepared by the host.

  12. Traffic all over are very minimal. Most of the people who work and live in the urban areas have gone home to their respective towns and provinces to spend Easter. Bus terminals in Manila were full to capacity to allow for safe loading on buses. Add’l security personnel were posted in those areas to prevent undue delays.

  13. My small order of Fannie May candy came yesterday and I found cute little jelly bean dishes to put by each plate. Rather than doing baskets this yeaar, I am giving each of my kids a large foil pan with rib seasoning, BBQ sauce and tin foil. The seasoning is called Butt Rub and it also came in the mail yesterday. My work friend who died in October was infamous for his ribs and I have the recipe card they made in his memory to add to their “basket”.

    I saw the following this morning: CNN continued what has become a precipitous decline in ratings for its prime-time programs in the first quarter of 2010, with its main hosts losing almost half their viewers in a year.
    They do not understand that this is due to their lack of honest reporting.

  14. CT, did your leak stop? I feel so bad for the towns and families that have been hit hard. I just hope they had flood insurance.

  15. Happy April Fools Day to all.

    My brother-in-law’s mother loved this day and every year would dream up some way to “fool” him. One year, she called his small business and arranged for the staff to move up all the clocks by one hour knowing that he had a noon lunch date (he does not wear a watch). Anyone he showed up at the restaurant at 11 and they weren’t even open for business! I know he will miss her today–she died a few years ago.

  16. Good Morning, Villagers…clouds and rain clearing to a mostly sunny day with highs brushing 60 degrees…a day to dry out. There’s a light dusting of snow on our Mt. Diablo…just beautiful!! I hope our Eastern Villagers are getting a chance to dry out as well!!

    The box at the top of the terrace closet had our Easter Baskets in it…so the Easter Bunny can fill them up this Sunday. It always amazes me how the Easter Bunny fills our baskets with such a variety of things as we grow up…it’s filled with surprises that are often more tailored to the individual.

    Normita…thanks for keeping us updated on the many traditions that Catholics in the Philippines observe…I really had no idea there were so many and that they are so very elaborate. What a treasure…enjoy your visit!

    I always pull a few small April Fools jokes on my son…he’s off to college this morning, so I have plenty of time to think of just the right one this year…probably something to do with dinner….we’ll see…

    Don’t fall for too many jokes today…enjoy…

  17. Good morning all – my husband played an April Fools joke on me today. I was awake reading the paper and drinikng coffee, he is on his computer, then he says “Can you believe this? It will be 100 degrees in LA today, and the heat cell is centered right over our town, then silence. Of course I reacted! What!!! Oh no, my tuplips and iris blooms will fry, I was supposed to work in the garden today, and it will be too hot, and I went on and on and on. He just sat there and grinned from ear to ear. Then he told me “April Fools Day”…

      • I should have said “a second cup of coffee to ‘chill”.

        I saw two bumper stickers today that had the Obama emblem for the O. One said OOPS! and th other said “LOL!

        I was taken back by a license plate that read RIP JMB. It the first time I had seen someone use “rest in peace” to personalize their tags.

  18. Happy Easter Triduum Villagers.

    Normita, you did such a nice job in explaining your traditional customs.

    MJ. I’ll listen to the pine story later on.

    KEY, sorry to hear you had a water experience at your house. We are okay. The river across the street from our house was at street level and running very fast for 2 days but it did not cover the street or come into our basement.

    Hi Annette, always good to know you are still around. Sue, I may go to church tonight too. I did not make it the last 2 years due to me hips situation. I feel called myself today.

    Today is sunny and in the high 60’s. We will have a sunny Easter day.

    • Tanya and Normita, I had 16 years of Catholic education and I don’t ever remember hearing the term, “triduum”. There are new discoveries every day!

  19. MJ, I’ll take a look at my neighbor’s pine trees this week. Thanks.

    PS: our sump pump is working almost non-stop since Tuesday. I am so grateful it is working so well.

    • Tanya, you’re welcome. Glad that KEY and Normita enjoyed the pine tree video, too.

      And, good to know you and your area didn’t have to face that awful flooding.

  20. You may find this interesting and scary. I wonder if it also applies to Internet searches?

    Big Brother on Your Tail

    Suppose I approached you with a request. I want you to carry a small gadget that will automatically transmit your location to the police, allowing them to track your every movement 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Chances are you would politely decline.

    Too late. You already accepted.

    That gadget, you see, is called a cell phone. For years, the cops may have been using it to keep close tabs on you without your knowledge, even if you have done nothing wrong.

    • Well, we could disable the GPS feature on our cell phones to prevent the cops from tracking our every move. Then again, sometimes a cell phone GPS can be a life-saver.

  21. Good night everybody. Been a long day, had company over, tired now.. Yes it is Good Friday tomorrow. Time to reflect and thank God for all we have.

  22. We’re getting ready to go to Good Friday church services.

    The table is ready for tonight’s gathering of family prior to the big procession. Bob will prepare cioppino with all the seafood trimmings, pasta and fresh dinner bread. We went to the public market to buy the fish and seafood, fruits, vegetables and a lot of goodies. It’s amazing to see all the many different fish varieties in one place, small, medium and large. The fruits and vegetables just came from nearby farms.

    Bob was quite adamant in asking that the vendor cuts the fish a certain way and had too much time, so I told him to just get it cleaned and we had our house help to do the rest.

    It’s a relaxing day. Check out the Maudy Thursday photos I posted.

  23. Our county library sent their monthly quote. I thought it was a good one that we can identify with–I have no idea who Caroline Gordon is:

    “A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a
    world that we cannot enter in any other way” ~ Caroline Gordon

    Normita, thanks for sharing the pictures–I will look at them in the morning. Karel I’m glad you found your baskets and that your traditions will continue. I made the jezebel sauce for the ham tonight as well as the dijon maple glaze. I try to do a little bit everyday. Tomorrow, it will be the potatoes and the table. I am making a spinach and strawberry salad and will make the poppyseed dressing tomorrow as well. With a small kitchen it would be chaos to do everything on the same day.


  24. Good morning all! I sunny Good Friday in CT. The watrers are receding and the basmeent is drying out.

    Pulled an all nighter at work on Wed along with four other people Haven’t done that in ages. These middle aged bones held up but was wiped out yesterday. Today I am home making Easter preparation. I hope to go to church tonight.

    Going to go back and check out the comments.

    Have a great day all!

  25. Most of my all-nighters started at work but then continued to my computer at home. I had independent phone lines to the home computer and for talking before the days of cable. In 1986 my company had a PHONE system on the computer that preceeded IM. It worked just like IM in that you could interactively write and correspond to anyone on the network. Of course at that time it was a wide area network that only had fifteen computers connected nationally. I like the quiet of working late at night. On one project with an impossible deadline, I worked everyday to for six months, finally taking Christmas off. We made the deadline which included providing our staff with laptops, email, spreadsheets, word processing, and a national administrative system. We were on the bleeding edge in 1986 but it was an immediate success because staff could see the benefits of email. We did not have to sell it.

    CT, I hope you will recover and recapture the sleep that has been lost. We want your family to have their red eggs!

  26. Good Morning, Villagers…clouds increasing, with rain expected midday, highs brushing 60 degrees! The water index in the Sierra snow pack came in at 106% so it looks like a drought year has been avoided…YEAH!!!! What a blessing for Good Friday!

    CT Key…glad you’re drying out and sunshine is coming your way. I know what you mean about those all nighters…I still think most of us can string a couple nights together when push comes to shove…it still amazes me what humans are capable of in a crunch!!

    Taylor…I like your Caroline Gordon quote…I guess that’s why I enjoy Science Fiction more often than most other books.

    Normita….cioppino with plenty of spices and fresh fish…what a treat for your friends and relatives. I’ll bet Bob is in heaven doing the cooking…he enjoys it so much.

    Go…how’s our Kitty doing? Have you settled on a name yet?

    Enjoy the day…be sure to take time to count your blessings…I’m thankful that I was married on this day to a wonderful man and we have a son he’d be ever so proud of.

  27. Taylor, I had 8 years Catholic education and never hear it either until a few years ago from my parish pastor. Maybe we were too young to notice?

    Sue, Normita and KEY, you inspired me to go to Maundy Thursday service. Thank you. I was very emotional at church, recalling my youth and how dedicated I was to this day. My best friend Rosalie and I walked to the neighboring towns to pray at each church as the host was venerated all day. We started this tradition around 6th or 7th grade and all through high school. It was about a 15 mile walk round trip to visit 5 churches. Sometimes we took the bus home after the last visit if we were too tired. Rosalie lived about a mile away from me so we then walked to her house too. So you can see I always was a walker. I LOVE to walk. Good memories yesterday. But I have to admit I did not recall this until I saw the side altar set up for the host.

    My mind has not been ‘connecting the dots’ lately. Probably too much going on around me that is hard to hold in my heart. People I love with illness, aging issues or accidents that are life threatening all through March. My aunt with brain damage is progressing and is now in a rehab hospital; Jenn’s dad is in a nursing home and Jenn just had another car accident. Someone sides swiped her rental car. She was not hurt. This is her 4th car accident in 3 months. 2 caused by mechanical car problems and 2 by I feel her being so tired from staying with her dad all day in the hospital that her reflexes are not that sharp or alert to see what other drivers are doing around here.

    KEY, wow, how did you stay alert enough to do your work? I hope you slept well last night. Did you work all day Thursday too?

    Normita, your culture has such an expansive ritual around the Triduum. I’m happy to see that some cultures still carry on the traditions from generation to generation. Will your daughter Shirley carry these on too?

    I will honor my tradition today by no radio, TV, internet or phone calls between noon and 3 pm. then church at 3 pm.

    Bye for now.

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