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Bishop Fisher Features Lent and Easter

Holy Thursday Mass at cathedral focuses on Eucharist

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Do this in remembrance of me…

And so, begins the Sacred Triduum, the period of Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday that remains the holiest period in the Christian Church. The celebration of the Triduum marks the end of the Lenten season and leads to the Resurrection of the Lord on the Easter Vigil.

During Holy Thursday Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral, Bishop Michael W. Fisher in expanding on the importance of the Triduum, literally meaning three days in Latin, said this is the period that we are all called to service. 

Father Sean Paul Fleming, rector of St. Joseph Cathedral, delivers the homily on Holy Thursday. (Photo by Patrick J. Buechi)

In his homily, Father Sean Paul Fleming, cathedral rector and diocesan director of Worship, said Holy Thursday pulls together so many strands of what it means to be disciples. He touched on the first reading from Exodus when the angel passed over Jewish homes and their first-born escaped death because the blood of the Lamb was on their entrance ways. And we come, in a simpler way, on Holy Thursday as disciples of the Lamb of God who take away the sins of the world.

“And so, we savor the most important facet of our church life, the institution of the Eucharist and the last supper,” Father Fleming explained. “The Eucharist is proof of our deliverance from sin and it promises us grace and mercy, and that we need to find true and eternal community with the Lord.  Even if our experience on earth is momentary and a foretaste of heaven as the Church fathers saw it.”

“The Eucharist means one thing for us, it is the real substantive and abiding presence of God,” he said.

Holy Thursday is a special day for Father Fleming and is his favorite Mass because Holy Thursday marks the day he received a return call from the diocesan Vocation Office that began his journey to the priesthood. 

“We need to pray for more young men to answer the call to priesthood. Because the greatest gift I feel, and I say, with all humility, the greatest gift a priest can offer the world is the Eucharist.” 

Bishop Fisher washes the feet of young Esther Baker, from St. Jude the Apostle Parish in North Tonawanda. (Photo by Patrick J. Buechi)

“No matter what vocations of service we are called to do, we are co-workers in the vineyard and we should never lose that sense,” he concluded.

Bishop Fisher then washed the feet of select attendees, recreating what Christ performed at the Last Supper to indicate that we all are in service to one another.

Following Holy Thursday Mass’s conclusion, the Holy Eucharist was transferred in procession to the Lady Chapel at the cathedral where the church remained open until midnight to allow for continued adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. 

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