As Holy Thursday Masses were celebrated throughout the Diocese of Parramatta, parishioners heard and experienced the rituals that have continued for centuries throughout the Church on the day that marks the end of Lent.
At St Patrick’s Church Guildford, Parish Priest Fr Peter Blayney explained to the parishioners the traditions that stem from the Last Supper, emphasizing the importance of the Eucharist and its significance to Christ’s sacrifice, as well as His lessons on reaching out with the Gospel, and serving others.
“Tonight as at every Eucharist, liturgically we make present the death and Resurrection of Jesus as a sacrifice that gives divine life,” he said. “When we celebrate the Eucharist we are doing again the real death and Resurrection of Jesus.”
“When we experience Eucharist it is not only for our own salvation,” he said. “We do have the desire and duty to care for our own salvation. But it doesn’t stop there, because we are meant to reach out to others to announce the Gospel of the Lord as we say at the end of Mass.”
By doing the job of washing the feet of the disciples which would normally be done by servants, Jesus was explaining how we should be of service to others, said Fr Peter.
“That is what Christian love is,” said Fr Peter, “putting others first.”
This message of service resonated particularly strongly with acolyte Blannie Rodricks whose whole family were in attendance, and whose daughters Daylor and Tracey had been selected to attend the Chrism Mass the night before, when the holy oils for the coming year are blessed and consecrated.
Blannie has been an acolyte for 13 years, most of them at Holy Trinity Church in Granville, before moving to St Patrick’s parish two years ago. His wife Caroline is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and his daughters also serve the parish through reading, singing and visiting the elderly of the parish.
“We have set an example of service for our children,” said Blannie. “I rejoice on this day because it is about service.
“The home is a mini church. We need to take the Gospel to our friends, to the mall, to everyone.”
“I totally believe that if God is the centre of your life, everything is in place,” he said.
Blannie was also thrilled the parish were able to use a stunning tapestry of the Last Supper he had brought back from Chennai, India on the church altar. Despite being purchased before he even came to the parish, he marveled at its coincidental exact fit for the St Patrick’s altar. “I believe it was God’s choice for the parish to use this tapestry,” he said emphatically.
Fr Peter had discussed the elements of the tapestry during his homily, and parishioners, particularly children were drawn to take a closer look after Mass. When asked, Mary Bazouni, a parishioner of 23 years commented “There’s definitely something spiritual about it.”
Seeing children and adults of the parish inspired by the tapestry gave Blanni enormous joy, and further inspiration himself. “It makes me want to do more,” he said.
Following the Mass, a procession took the Blessed Sacrament to the Chapel of Our Lady for the Vigil at the Altar of Repose.
View images from the Mass here.
See Bishop Vincent’s Easter Message for 2022 here.
Find Holy Week service times in the Diocese of Parramatta here.