Opening Hymn
  1. The glory of the cross we sing,
    the cross of Jesus Christ our Lord,
    who died and rose to set us free,
    our way from death to life secured.

(John Ainslie, 2001)

“We shall glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christus. In him is our salvation, life, and resurrection. Through him we are redeemed and set free.” (Entrance antiphon, cf. Gal 6:14)

This is the only introit in the Paschal Triduum: the Good Friday liturgy and the Easter Vigil begin in different manners.

And indeed we can understand it as the headline or the key to the entire Easter celebration: The text does not mention the events of Holy Thursday themselves; instead it gives a clear statement on everything to come: Cross, resurrection, life, salvation. The Triduum in its entirety is celebrated in the perspective of resurrection. We celebrate our own salvation in all of its aspects as narrated in the Bible. We already know that life will win over death, and that makes us understand what is going on step by step. (PrayTell)

In the spirit of today’s Entrance Antiphon, our Opening Hymn sets the note of celebration that runs right through the Paschal Triduum.

Glory to Godfrom ‘A Parish Mass’ (Peter Jones, 2010)The Glory to God will not be heard again until the Easter Vigil
First ReadingExodus 12:1-8;11-14
PsalmPsalm 115 (‘The blessing cup that we bless’, Teresa Brown)
Second Reading1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel Acclamation‘Praise to you, O Christ’ (Alan Rees, OSB)Alan Rees was a monk and abbot of Belmont Abbey and a fine composer too.
GospelJohn 13:1-15Jesus washes the feet of his disciples.
Washing of Feet‘Ubi caritas’ (Taizé)The song ‘Ubi Caritas’ translates as ‘Where charity and love are found, there is God’. This setting from Taizé is an alternative to the well-known chant melody. Monsignor Crichton chose a line from this hymn and had it engraved on our main altar: Amor Christi congregavit nos in unum (The love of Christ has gathered us together as one).
Preparation Song‘The Servant King’ (Graham Kendrick)Kendrick’s fine song is selected here because of its 4th verse, following the washing of feet.
Eucharistic Acclamations
& Lamb of God
The ‘Holy, Holy’ and the Memorial Acclamation are from ‘A Parish Mass’ (Peter Jones, 2010)Canon Peter Jones was, all too briefly, our parish priest from October 2013 to April 2016, when he died. He was a very significant composer for the liturgy; his ‘Parish Mass’ was written for his previous parish, in Aston, Birmingham, as was the ‘Lamb of God’.
Communion Processional‘The bread that we break’ (Stephen Dean)Tonight’s Mass is, above all else, a celebration of the Institution of the Eucharist. The earliest accounts are to be found not in the Gospels but in the Pauline epistles (like the two to the Corinthians) that pre-date them. The refrain of Stephen’s song is based on 1 Corinthians 10:16:

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?

Transfer of the Blessed Sacrament‘Of the glorious Body telling’ (St Thomas Aquinas)The Latin original of this ancient chant — ‘Pange lingua gloriosi corporis mysterium’ — is a medieval hymn written by Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) for the Feast of Corpus Christi. It is also sung tonight during the procession to the Altar of Repose, where the Blessed Sacrament is kept until Good Friday.

It is fitting that the hymn’s final verse is a doxology, sounding again the note of praise with which we began this evening’s liturgy.

 [notes on Good Friday will be added on Thursday]
The Easter Triduum: Holy Thursday