Holy Thursday

Beloved Parish Family In Christ Jesus Our Lord,

I really love Holy Thursday in the greatest week called Holy Week. This is truly a very special day for all Priests and for all Catholic Faithful.

Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of our Lord with His closest friends the Twelve Apostles  gathered in the Upper Room for the Passover Meal. At this Holy Meal, Jesus took the lead during this ancient ritual that had to do with remembering the powerful gifts from God. God provided the food needed for the Hebrew people on their 40 year journey back home to Israel without starving. At this Last Supper our Lord took up the final serving of the bread and handed it to the Apostles with the words saying take and eat, this is My Body. Then He took up that last cup of wine and said to them, take and drink of this, this is my blood. He finally said He would not take of this cup until He returned at the end of time. This becomes for us the FIRST MASS, the FIRST EUCHARIST.

The Sacred Bread and Wine of the Last Supper becomes even more powerful for us on our journey from this world to our home in Heaven than the Manna was for those who survived that 40 year journey from Egypt to Israel. The Mass and the Holy Eucharist becomes the greatest gift God has given for the good of the entire human family. And so what do you think? As Catholic Christians we need to give more honor and thanksgiving to Holy Thursday each year than the Hebrews give for the feast of the Holy Passover.

There is still something more that should make the priests and faithful love this Holy Day because Our Lord also gave us the ordination of the Priests. At the Last Supper he made the Twelve Apostles the first Bishops to carry out His mission until the end of time.

In honor of this part of Holy Thursday it is a custom for all Catholic Dioceses to gather all the Priests and ordained Religious on Holy Thursday or a day close to this for a Special Mass. In this special Liturgy the Bishop consecrates the Holy Oils that are used in all the Parishes. He consecrates the Holy Oils for the Baptism, for Confirmation and Ordination and for the Oil of he Anointing of the Sick. Also to remember the first ordination by Our Lord, Priests will renew their vows of Ordination and renew their vow of obedience to their Bishop. In a special way Holy Thursday becomes like an anniversary day for all priests ordained. It is quite a precious thing to see all the Priests of all ages gathered with their Bishop, from the most newly Ordained Priest to the most Senior Priest of the Diocese. From those Priests who have served faithfully for so many years and those Priests who are just beginning their life in ministry.

The great feast day of Holy Thursday has to do with the gift of Holy Communion and the gift of the Holy Priesthood. The Holy Mass and the Holy Communion make the Priest so that the Priest can make the Holy Communion. These holy gifts are among the greatest and most generous gifts God has even given us. How much we need to honor Him, thank Him and praise our generous God all the time. For our Eparchy we will gather with Sayidna Elias on the Monday of Holy Week in St. Louis for the ceremony of the Consecration of the Holy Oils. I so much look forward to this celebration. And then I look forward to being with all of you on Holy Thursday for the celebration of the Last Supper and the washing of the Apostles feet.