Thursday, April 09, 2020

For A Scattered Church, The "Supper" Awaits

Even as the liturgical shutdown of most of the Western church approaches the one-month mark, in a particular way, this is the night when the hit really sinks in.

With a disorienting Lent now completed on this Holy Thursday afternoon, the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper opens the Paschal Triduum – always the summit of the Christian year, but this time with an even greater intensity and range of emotion due to circumstances without precedent in modern times.

Again, here's hoping you and yours are all getting through OK – as ever, all prayers from here toward that end. While the livestreams abound for tonight's rites, we return to the focal point of this one Body: an empty St Peter's Basilica, as the Pope leads the Evening Mass at the Altar of the Chair from 6pm Rome (Noon Eastern).

For reference, here's the libretto, and here, the on-demand feed:

As ever, more to come – for now, may these days be as graced as they're surreal for each of us.

SVILUPPO: As Francis kept to his custom for this night of giving an unscripted homily, a full English text isn't immediately available. That said, the spontaneous text focused on the witness of priests and medical workers amid the pandemic.

While the Pope's message to the priests of the world would normally be given at the morning Chrism Mass on this day, the COVID spread led the Holy See last month to postpone the annual rite past Easter for the diocese of Rome, extending the same ability to every local church worldwide.