Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Paschal Triduum. Maundy Thursday and our Family Liturgy.

“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him, 
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him, 
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him, 
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over; 
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

With the Mass of 'the Lord's Supper' we enter the 'Easter Triduum'. On Thursday we will celebrate and commemorate the 'Institution of the Eucharist', the 'Institution of the Priesthood' and Christ's command of brotherly love.

Thursday will start as normal, the children will go to school and we will be off to work as on every other day... 

Although the morning routine will appear to be the same, our hearts will be filled with trepidation for the liturgy to come in the evening!

School will finish at 2pm on this day and our Easter holidays will begin straight after. The winter uniform will be washed and put away and the excitement will grow greater waiting for the evening to arrive.

It will be an early dinner and finally it will be time to go to mass. The boys will go a little earlier to prepare and get ready to offer their service as altar servers, the girls will stay behind, the youngest will complain. Pierpaolo will get his music bag and nervously encourage us to hurry up and leave as we can't be late. I will be the last one to leave the house...

Once there, the Church will be bare, no flowers no beauty around us, all the statues veiled, more and more people will fill the benches, standing at the back or at the sides. 

People from many nations, children, younger and older faithful united as one to relive and be reminded once again of the events that changed our lives.
The music solemnly prepared throughout the week will be played and beautifully sung. The washing of the feet will be done and, for the last time until Easter, the bread and wine consecrated.

There won't be a final blessing as this day is the beginning of a single liturgy that will have its conclusion and resolution in the Paschal Vigil.

For us as a Christian family the evening will not yet have ended.

A vase 

will be filled with water and scented oils and the best hand made towel embroidered by my grandmother will be prepared for our own special family liturgy.

The same gospel proclaimed earlier on that evening will be re-read and explained to the children. 

As it is here in the domestic Church that the children experience the spirit of service, sacrifice and love for one another it is appropriate to wash each other's feet.

Pierpaolo will start, as head of the family, representing Christ in our domestic church by washing my feet then the children's, then it will be my turn and so on till the youngest does it with great excitement... 

There will be a few giggles here and there, but the sign of lowering ourselves, of pouring scented water, of gently drying and kissing each other's feet is so powerful that even the younger children understand what being like Jesus is all about.

Love one another as I have loved you. How did he love us? He lowered himself completely, he assumed a position of servant. He loved unto death. Death of a sinner, death on the cross.

It is in the family that the children first experience this self-giving love of service. 


  1. I love how the Holy Spirit works, DURING Mass tonight as my hubby was having his feet washed I thought how cool it would be if he were to wash everyone's feet in the family. Then I read your inspiring post! Sounds you have one solid and blessed domestic church!

  2. How lovely! It hadn't occurred to me to do a footwashing at home.

  3. This sounds like such a beautiful and wonderful tradition to create at home!! What an awesome way to make the Gospel and Church-lessons carry forward into the domestic church - thank you for the idea!

  4. wow! The footwashing at home with the kids, that's a great idea. I think I'd like to try to fit that in tomorrow. But, probably before Mass, since they'll definitely fall asleep on the way home.