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Maundy Thursday - Monastic Liturgy


Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum and is one of the most important commemorations of the liturgical year. In preparation for His Passion, Christ shares the Last Supper with His disciples. It is on this day that Our Lord instituted both the Eucharist and the priesthood "whereby He would renew, even to the end of time, the great Mystery He thus commands us to receive." (1)

After Our Lord finishes the Last Supper with His Apostles, the traitor Judas goes forth to trade his Master for thirty pieces of silver. Our Lord retires to the Garden of Gethsemane with His Apostles, praying in Agony and marking the beginning of His Passion. The Son of Man is taken captive and shall be delivered up as the expiatory victim, the Paschal Lamb, for the sins of mankind.

*

The following guide for Maundy Thursday is the complete monastic liturgy for Holy Week prior to the progressivist reforms of the '50s and '60s. Sources used and cross-checked were the The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger, the 1934 Liber Usualis (book of chants), and the 1945 St. Andrew Missal. For the common liturgy for laypeople, click here.

Hyperlinks are shown in blue to provide the music that ideally accompanies the ceremonies.


  1. Dom Gueranger, The Liturgical Year, Vol. 6, p. 371. Loreto Publications.


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Matins

The Pater Noster, Ave, and Credo are said in secret, then the first Nocturn begins.

First Nocturn

An Antiphon is sung before and after each of the Psalms. After each Psalm one of the fifteen candles is extinguished. The Psalms for Maundy Thursday are said in the following order:

Antiphon: Zelus domus...
1st Psalm: Psalm 68
Ant. Zelus domus...

Ant. Avertantur retrorsum...
2nd Psalm: Psalm 69
Ant. Avertantur retrorsum...

Ant. Deus meus, eripe...
3rd Psalm: Psalm 70
Ant. Deus meus, eripe...

Versicle symbol. Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant.
Response symbol. Qui cogitant mihi mals.

Here the Pater Noster is said in secret. The following Lessons are taken from the Lamentations of Jeremiah and derive their names from the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

First Lesson
Aleph.
Beth.
Ghimel.
Daleth.
He.
Response symbol. In Monte Oliveti...
Versicle symbol. Vigilate, et orate...
Spiritus quidem...

Second Lesson
Vau.
Zain.
Heth.
Teth.
Response symbol. Tristis est anima...
Vos fugam...
Versicle symbol. Ecce appropinquat...
Vos fugam...

Third Lesson
Jod.
Caph.
Lamed.
Mem.
Nun
Response symbol. Ecce vidimus eum...
Cujus livore...
Versicle symbol. Vere languores...
Cujus livore...
Response symbol. Ecce vidimus eum...

Second Nocturn

Ant. Liberavit Dominus...
4th Psalm: Psalm 71
Ant. Liberavit Dominus...

Ant. Cogitaverunt impii...
5th Psalm: Psalm 72
Ant. Cogitaverunt impii...

Ant. Exsurge, Domine...
6th Psalm: Psalm 73
Ant. Exsurge, Domine...

Response symbol. Deus meus...
Versicle symbol. Et de manu...

Fourth Lesson
Response symbol. Amicus Meus
Versicle symbol. Bonum erat ei...
Infelix praetermisit...

Fifth Lesson
Response symbol. Judas Mercator Pessimus
Versicle symbol.Melius illi erat...
Denariorum numero...

Sixth Lesson
Response symbol.Unus ex Discipulis
Versicle symbol. Qui intingit mecum
Melius illi erat...
Response symbol.Unus ex Discipulis

Third Nocturn

Ant. Dixi iniquis...
7th Psalm: Psalm 74
Ant. Dixi iniquis...

Ant.Terra tremuit...
8th Psalm: Psalm 75
Ant.Terra tremuit...

Ant. In die tribulationis...
9th Psalm: Psalm 76
Ant. In die tribulationis...
Versicle symbol. Exsurge, Domine.
Response symbol. Et judica causam meam.

The Pater Noster is said in secret.

Seventh Lesson
De Epistola prima Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios...
Response symbol. Eram Quasi Agnus
Versicle symbol. Omnes inimici mei...

Eighth Lesson
Ego enim accepi...
Response symbol. Una Hora Non Potuistis Vigilare Mecum
Versicle symbol. Quid dormitis? Surgite...

Ninth Lesson
Itaque quicumque...
Response symbol. Seniores Populi
Versicle symbol. Colligerunt pontifices...
Response symbol. Seniores Populi

Lauds

Ant. Justificeris, Domine...
1st Psalm: Psalm 50: Miserere Mei Deus
Ant. Justificeris, Domine...

Ant. Dominus tamquam...
2nd Psalm: Paslm 89
Ant. Dominus tamquam...

Ant. Contritum est cor meum ...
3rd Psalm: Psalm 85
Ant. Contritum est cor meum ...

Ant. Exhortatus es...
Canticle of Moses (Exod. XV.)
Ant. Exhortatus es...

Ant. Oblatus est quia...
Psalm 146
Ant. Oblatus est quia...
Versicle symbol. Homo pacis meae...
Response symbol. Qui edebat panes...

Ant. Traditor autem...
Canticle of Zachary

At this point the six altar candles are extinguished, leaving only a single lit candle

Ant. Traditor autem...
Versicle symbol. Christus factus est...

The Pater Noster is said in secret. The choir sings Miserere in a suppressed voice while the first in dignity says the following prayer:

Respice, quaesumus, Domine...

Then in secret: Qui tecum vivit et...

The Choir recites the Antiphon and the remaining lit candle is hidden behind the altar.

At this point a harsh noise is made using a wooden implement called a matraca until the lit candle is brought back from behind the altar, showing by its light that the office of Tenebrae is over.

Traditionally the reconciliation of penitents was done at this time, followed by the blessing of the holy oils, but these ceremonies are no longer widely observed.

The Mass of Maundy Thursday uses white vestments, and two hosts are consecrated. One consecrated Host is used for the Priest, while the other is saved for Good Friday. Good Friday permits no consecration, so the Host must be preserved from the day before.


The Mass of Maundy Thursday

Introit:
Nos autem gloriari...

Collect:
Deus, a quo et Judas...

Epistle:
Lectio Epistolae beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios...
(I. Chap. xi.)

Gradual:
Christus factus est...
Versicle symbol. Propter quod et Deus...

Gospel:
Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem
(Ch. xiii)

Offertory:
Dextera Domini fecit...

Secret:
Ipse tibi, quesumus...

Communion:
Dominus Jesus postquam...

Postcommunion:
Refecti vitalibus alimentis...

As soon as the Mass is over, a procession takes place to bring the remaining consecrated Host to its resting place. There, the body of Our Lord will await Good Friday and be open to adoration by the faithful. During the procession the choir sings the well known hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas: Pange Lingua Gloriosi.

Upon reaching his destination, the priest places the chalice upon the altar and censes the Sacred Host. After short prayers in silence, the choirs returns to the choir loft and Vespers are begun.


Vespers

The Pater Noster and Ave are said in secret.

Ant. Calicem salutaris...
1st Psalm: Psalm 115
Ant. Calicem salutaris...

Ant. Cum his qui...
2nd Psalm: Psalm 119
Ant. Cum his qui...

Ant. Ab hominibus...
3rd Psalm: Psalm 139
Ant. Ab hominibus...

Ant. Custodi me a...
4th Psalm: Psalm
Ant. Custodi me a...

Ant. Considerabam ad dexteram...
5th Psalm: Psalm 141
Ant. Considerabam ad dexteram...

Ant. Coenantibus autem...
Magnificat
Ant. Coenantibus autem...
Versicle symbol. Christus factus est...

The Pater Noster is said in secret and the Miserere is recited in a suppressed voice, followed by a prayer. This marks the end of Vespers.

The Stripping of the Altars

As soon as Vespers are over, the altar is stripped of its cloths and ornaments and left barren to denote the suspension of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The altar is left in this state until Our Lord is risen again.


Ant. Diviserunt sibi...
Psalm 21
Ant. Diviserunt sibi...

The Washing of the Feet

The Washing of the Feet, known also as the Mandatum, is traditionally done at this time by 1) the Pope, who would wash the feet of thirteen priests in imitation of Our Lord washing the feet of the Apostles, and 2) by Bishops and Prelates in churches of importance, who follow the example of the Pope by choosing twelve poor (for cathedral churches, the tradition is thirteen poor).

Washing the feet of the poor is an act of humility and charity that was once widespread in Christendom, but has since fallen into disuse and was relegated to the liturgy.

The celebrant takes off his cope, girds himself with a towel, and washes the feet of those chosen for this ceremony. He kisses the right foot of each while the choir sings the following antiphons.


Ant. Mandatum novum...
Ant. Postquam serrexit..
Ant. Dominus Jesus...
Ant. Domine, tu mihi...
Ant. Si ego Dominus...
Ant. In hoc cognoscent...
Ant. Maneant in vobis...
Ant. Benedicta sit...

Canticle
Ubi caritas, et amor...
Versicle symbol. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Versicle symbol. Exsultemus, et in ipsoe...
Versicle symbol. Timeamus et amemus...
Versicle symbol. Et ex corde...
Ubi caritas, et amor...
Versicle symbol. Simul ergo cum...
Versicle symbol. Ne nose mente...
Versicle symbol. Cessent jurgia maligna...
Versicle symbol. Et in medio nostri...
Ubi caritas, et amor...
Versicle symbol. Simul quoque cum...
Versicle symbol. Glorianter, vultum tuum...
Versicle symbol. Gaudium, quod et...
Versicle symbol. Saecula per infinita...

The celebrant resumes his cope and concludes the ceremony with the Lord's Prayer.

Pater Noster...
(The rest of the prayer is said in silence until...)
Versicle symbol. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
Response symbol. Sed libera nos a malo.
Versicle symbol. Tu mandasti...
Response symbol. Custodiri nimis.

Versicle symbol. Tu lavasti pedes...
Response symbol. Opera manuum tuarum...
Versicle symbol. Domine, exaudi...
Response symbol. Et clamor meus...
Versicle symbol. Dominus vobiscum.
Response symbol. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus.

Adesto, Domino quaesumus...


End of Maundy Thursday


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