The Mass of the Lord’s Supper was celebrated by Bishop Michael Smith in St Mary’s Church, Navan on Holy Thursday night. The Bishop was joined by the priests of the local parish. Afterwards, a vigil of prayer for vocations took place at the Altar of Repose.
The Holy Thursday liturgy was also celebrated at the Cathedral of Christ the King, where Fr Seamus O’Connell, Professor of Sacred Scripture at Maynooth, preached the homily, which linked the Eucharist with the washing of the feet and the theme of mercy.
“Christ knows what is in those at table with him. It is NOT in spite of that, BUT PRECISELY BECAUSE OF THAT, he washes their feet; Christ knows what is in each one of them, and because of that he gives them the bread; he gives the bread to the one who will betray him! This is the face of MERCY. He reveals the face of the Father’s mercy (see Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus §1 ). The bread he give us is the Bread of Mercy.
This bread, his Body for us—the Bread is Life—is bread for the weak, for those who fail, for those who betray. It is not bread for the perfect, because that type of perfection is an illusion. His Body is the Bread of Mercy, and for that very reason it is the Bread of Life, since the life that comes to us in Christ is a life that wells up in mercy. It is a life that is founded on faithfulness and that issues in forgiveness.”
During the Mass, Fr Robert McGivney washed the feet of a number of Mullingar parishioners. These included a father and daughter from India, a mother from Nigeria and two Leaving Cert students. A collection was held at the offertory, the proceeds of which goes towards the parish social outreach. This mission, apt for the Jubilee of Mercy, was also reflected in the Presentation of the Gifts.
The Mass concluded with a Eucharistic Procession to the Altar of Repose, following which the vigil of prayer for vocations continued until Night Prayer.
These photos from the Cathedral were provided by John McCauley.