Holy Thursday

“Paschales Solemnitatis,” No. 56, indicates:   

“After the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the faithful should be encouraged to spend a suitable period of time during the night in the church in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament which has been solemnly reserved.”

This tradition of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday recalls Jesus’ direction to his apostles to keep vigil with him while he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.

And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch.” (Mark 14:34)

Spending time in adoration is a rich custom where we are asked to accompany Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane and console him during his great agony. It is on this sacred night before His death on the cross that he prepares to sacrifice himself, freely and willingly, for our sins. It is good to recall that he suffered greatly for us; it is good to recall his great love for us. He freely accepted the pain of the crucifixion out of love for us.

Alongside the apostles, we are all reproached for not keeping vigil with Jesus for at least one hour on Holy Thursday:

And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour?” (Mark 14: 37)

This reproach is a summons that reminds us to begin the Paschal Mystery with our minds alert and our hearts focused intently on Jesus.

At St. Agnes on Holy Thursday after the Blessed Sacrament has been placed in the tabernacle at the place of repose, there will be an opportunity for us to keep vigil with Jesus through the night until 7 am Friday morning.  Like the apostles, we are summoned to pray with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. There will be a sign-up sheet at the back of the church.