The evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday gives us the chance to be at the Last Supper.
Here Jesus gives His Body and Blood, the Eucharist, as a gift to the Church, and teaches us the way of service, washing the feet of His disciples and teaching us: "Love one another as I have loved you". We had a beautiful celebration of this Mass, which begins the sacred Triduum (meaning, 'three days'), in which we celebrate the Last Supper, the Lord's death and His resurrection. At the end of Mass we processed to the Altar of the Respose (above), which represents the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed with His disciples, was betrayed and arrested. People stayed and prayed in the Lord's presence during the evening, some staying after Mass, others going home and returning later to spend some time with the Lord. The chapel was open until midnight, so that we all had the chance to do as the Lord asks: "Stay here with me, watch and and pray."
Immediately after Mass the altar was stripped, making the church look very bare, in preparation for the solemn liturgy of Good Friday. This is a sign of how the Lord Himself was stripped of His garments and gave up everything for us.
Hundreds of booklets are lined up ready for the next few days! A lot of parishioners have spent a great deal of time preparing for these, the most important days of the year, to help us have a worthy and prayerful celebration of the Lord's Paschal Mystery.