You never forget your first Holy Week. My first Maundy Thursday service was at a small hole-in-the-wall traditionalist parish in the city, where I live. I remember arriving there early and finding the parish packed. Every pew was filled with people. The light was shining through the stained glass windows and one could hear the sound of birds chirping outside.
I remember that Maundy Thursday because of this beautiful hymn that was sung as Father washed the feet of twelve men. It is, for those of you that have not experienced it, a replication of the washing of the feet that Christ performed before the Last Supper. I remember how Father knelt down and washed the feet, while a server in a white surplice held out a towel. Twelve men of different stripes sat on those chairs: old, young, and middle-aged. All of them had volunteered to take part in that sacred ceremony during the most sacred week of the liturgical year.
The choir consisted of several sisters and young women. I do not remember if they sang in tune or out of tune, but I do remember this hymn as clearly as it were yesterday. Perhaps, it stuck with me because of what its words mean. Indeed, they are so familiar because they come straight from the Gospels: “Where love and charity dwell, God abides there.”
I’m sure that many of you have attended numerous Maundy Thursday ceremonies throughout the course of your lives in different parishes and in different places. I’m curious as to how that hymn has struck you or how it has changed your life.
Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!
St. Joseph, pray for us!