Thursday, 28 March 2013

Maundy Thursday Mass at Ta’ Pinu

by Stefan Attard

Last-Supper-by-Philippe-de-ChampaigneMaundy Thursday, called also Holy Thursday, is the beginning of the three day celebration of Easter, which is the most important time in the liturgical year for Christians. The Pascal Triduum recounts the Last Supper, Passion and Death and finally the Resurrection of Christ.

As in previous years the Schola Cantorum Jubilate animated the Holy week services, with suitable sacred music at Ta’ Pinu National Shrine. The mass started at 6pm and was led by the Shrine Rector Fr. Gerald Buhagiar. For the introit procession the choir performed Tallis’ anthem ‘If ye love me, keep my comandments’. After the first prayers, the celebrant intoned the ‘Gloria’, and the choir sang a rendition of Oltrasi’s ‘Gloria’ from his mass ‘Cantate Domino’. After the Gloria the organ and bells stayed silent until the Easter Vigil. Cantor Stefan Attard led the congregation during the psalm, ‘Il-Kalċi imbierek huwa Xirka mad-Demm ta’ Kristu’, followed by the gospel acclamation ‘Glorja u Tifħir’ by the Schola Cantorum. Following the homily comes the Washing of the Feet, a rite performed by Christ himself upon His disciples. The Schola Cantorum started chanting the ‘Ubi Caritas’ while the Celebrant girded an apron and washed the feet of twelve men representing the Apostles for the ceremony. Bartolucci’s ‘O Sacrum Convivum’ accompanied the offerings procession while a moving ‘O Salutaris Hostia’ by Paul Portelli was performed during the communion.

Finally the Eucharist was carried in procession to the Altar of Repose while the choir sang ‘Pange Lingua’. This is considered as the most beautiful of Aquinas' hymns and one of the great seven hymns of the Church. The choir was accompanied by Robert Grech on the organ.

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