March 29, 2018

Giovedì Santo (Holy Thursday)

Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Holy Thursday is the commemoration of Christ’s Last Supper, when He established the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and the institution of the priesthood. In honor of the holiday, I'm posting a prayer for Holy Thursday. The accompanying photos of sepolcri (lavureddi in Sicilian), potted wheat sprouts divested of their color, were taken in a friend’s basement. Traditionally in southern Italy, people would grow wheat or legumes (e.g. lentils) in the dark to deprive them of their pigment. Symbolizing death and rebirth, and heralding the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, the pale plants (sometimes decorated with silk ribbons and spring flowers) are brought to church on Holy Thursday and placed around the Altar of Repose, which in southern Italy represents the Holy Sepulcher.
Holy Thursday Prayer
O Lord Jesus, in order that the merits of your sacrifice on the Cross might be applied to every soul of all time, you willed that it should be renewed upon the altar. At the Last Supper, you said: 
"Do this in remembrance of me."
By these words you gave your apostles and their successors the power to consecrate and to the command to do what you yourself did. I believe that the Mass is both a sacrifice and a memorial- reenacting your passion, death and resurrection. Help me to realize that the Mass is the greatest gift of God to us and our greatest gift to God. Amen

Also see:
Holy Thursday — Mass of the Lord's Supper, Church Visitation and the Altar of Repose
Holy Thursday Church Visitation and the Altar of Repose