The Holy Oils that were blessed and consecrated at the Chrism Mass were brought forth in procession at the start of the Mass of the Lord's Supper in St. David the King Church. Here a parishioner hands one of the vessels to Father Timothy Capewell, pastor, as Bishop O'Connell looks on.
The Holy Oils that were blessed and consecrated at the Chrism Mass were brought forth in procession at the start of the Mass of the Lord's Supper in St. David the King Church. Here a parishioner hands one of the vessels to Father Timothy Capewell, pastor, as Bishop O'Connell looks on.
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper reflects the “unambiguous and non-negotiable core of our Catholic faith” Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., said to the congregation in St. David the King Church, Princeton Junction, on Holy Thursday, April 14.

Parishes around the Diocese joined with those from around the globe to quietly conclude the Lenten season and prayerfully usher in the shortest, yet most sacred season of the liturgical year, the Paschal Triduum with the celebration of the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.

Photo Gallery: Mass of the Lord's Supper in St. David the King Church, Princeton Junction

Photo Gallery: Mass of the Lord's Supper in St. Catharine Church, Spring Lake

The Mass, as the faithful know it, would be different that night, as they witnessed the added movements such as the procession of the holy oils that were blessed and consecrated earlier in the week at the Chrism Mass, the washing of parishioners’ feet and the procession with the Blessed Sacrament to a chapel of repose. Out of concern for lingering pandemic concerns, the washing of parishioners' feet this year was left to the discretion of each parish.

In his homily, Bishop O’Connell recalled that for more than 2,000 years, Catholics and Christians everywhere focus their attention on Holy Thursday and the dramatic events that make this day holy. Reiterating that the Mass commemorates the last meal Jesus shared with his apostles before his Death, his institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood, Bishop O’Connell noted how the Mass had been a gathering of friends around a table to eat the Passover meal in a celebration complete with prayers and hymns.

“There was a sharing of bread and wine, the anticipation of the end of one life and the beginning of a life that would never end. And there was an example given from a ‘teacher’ that was instructive and unambiguous and forever: ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’

“My sisters and brothers,” the Bishop said, “this night is holy not because of the things we do but, rather, because of the things he did – the Lord Jesus Christ. It is he who gathers us. It is he who gives us food and drink. It is he who drops to his knees to wash the feet of his disciples. He, the Lord Jesus Christ, makes this night holy. And what we do, we do in his memory.”

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Bishop said, calls to mind the whole of salvation history.

“Celebrating the Eucharist. Committing ourselves to the command to serve one another. These actions blend together in memory of Jesus Christ and not only represent who and what he was in memorial and ceremonial actions, they become and are and remain for us in the Church who and what he is,” the Bishop said.

“This night and everything about it, everything that we celebrate and remember, is him and from him and about him,” Bishop O’Connell said.

“The Passover from death to life in Salvation History is the background for what we believe. The offering of his Body and Blood in the Eucharist and his continuing Real Presence is the heart of what we believe,” the Bishop said.

Following the reception of Holy Communion, the faithful witnessed the ancient ceremony in which the Blessed Sacrament, was carried in a procession and to a place of reposition. Once there, parishioners were invited to quietly pray in silent adoration.