Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday today, a day which has both one of my favourite services in the year and also one of those which I dislike most.

Tonight we have the glories of the Maundy Thursday liturgy. Lush music, procession, Garden of Repose, stripping of the church. Its the start of the Triduum – the three-day celebration which culminates in the Easter service on Sunday (if he should rise). I promise every year that if anyone wants to understand and enjoy the Christian faith as they have never done before, then they should come to tonight’s service, engage in one or more services tomorrow and then come to the early Vigil and main service on Easter Day. Lots of services, but it is all one event really. A rollercoaster of emotions that are hard to describe without living through them.

The one I least like is the Chrism mass. Its when the oils for the diocese for the rest of the year are blessed by the bishop. I quite like that bit. What I find much harder to stomach is the notion that clergy need to renew their vows once a year. It sometimes gets seen as an expression of loyalty to whoever the bishop is – which is a hideous thing for a Christian liturgy to find itself getting used for. It also makes bishops want to concelebrate, something I just don’t believe in. It also seems like the craziest of days to be trying to get the clergy together – we’ve all got such a lot to do today.

Maundy Thursday Liturgy with choir and full ceremonies at 7.30 pm tonight. Chrism Mass at 12 noon.

All welcome.


  1. Christina says

    I’m curious, what do you not believe about concelebrating?

  2. Maybe you need to live somewhere more remote. 😉

  3. Kelvin says

    I think we all celebrate at every Eucharist. I’m happy for one person to preside. If that will do at regular services, I’m happy for it to happen at special services.

    If we have to have a Chrism Mass, why can’t we have it at the Diocesan Synod when the whole diocese is represented? If we have to have services where we celebrate ministry, what does it say about us that we have one for the clergy and another one for the laity in few week’s time?

    I’m not sure I understand your comment about being remote, Chris.

  4. Oh, and another thing, I don’t understand why when the Deacons are asked to affirm their vows, the question does not seem to be applied to those clergy who are both priests and deacons.

    Either I am still a deacon or I am not. I answered yes to all the questions at my deaconing, I rather think I am.

  5. I am with you Kelvin on the Celebrant/Presider position. We all Celebrate but there is one who Presides. I have changed my liturgical language to speak of the Presider and not the Celebrant and insist that this is reflected in service booklets.

    On Con-Celebration; to have the whole college of priests forming a human ‘Choir Screen’ between the people and the altar (as often happens at Chrism mass) is bad theology and unhelpful liturgically. Would the early church have con-celebrated? No.

    The Bishop is the focus of unity for those gathered and as such is always the Presider: discuss..?..

  6. Therese of the Roses says

    The anglican and catholic diocese where i live in Canada celebrate the Chrism Mass on the Tuesday of Holy Week. it does mean Thursday is not so rushed, great if you live in red neck country and have to get to a diocese cathedral and back then take your own service. I have no problem with con-celebration .. except here when its the bishops who at the chrism mass con-celebrate and no clergy robe.. its like the Anglican patriarchs assembled on high (alter !)

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