By Emily Drooby
On Thursday afternoon, Father Peter Purpura, worked to get the St. James Cathedral Basilica in Downtown Brooklyn, ready for one of the most important Catholic liturgies of the year, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
Father Purpura, who is also the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Vice Chancellor, explained, “We have kind of formally concluded the period of Lent which is the period of preparation and now we are entering into these final days which celebrate the central mysteries of our faith, of the dying and the rising of Jesus Christ.
The Mass is celebrated on Holy Thursday and commemorates both the institution of holy Eucharist and the beginning of the priesthood.
This Mass will look similar to a typical Sunday Mass, but with some crucial additions.
Father Purpura explained, “Because we are focusing on these important themes like the gift of the Eucharist from Christ at the Last Supper and the example of humility in service, there are some aspects of the liturgy that are a little bit different.”
Those differences have to do with the transition from one set of mysteries to another,
Father Purpura further explained, “Tonight’s celebrating enjoy the gift of the priesthood, of the Eucharist, but tomorrow we are commemorating the suffering and death of Christ. So there is a bit of a transition at the end of Mass. After Mass, we remove the Blessed Sacrament from the body of the church.
Then the Blessed Sacrament is reserved at another location called the “Altar of Repose.” In the new location, parishioners will be able to continue the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament well into the night.
All linens, flowers, and candles will also be stripped from the church. The items will be hidden away until Easter Sunday.