Cardinal Wuerl Celebrates the Mass of the Lord’s Supper

March 28, 2013

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle marking the start of the Triduum, the three final days before Easter and the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. During the Mass, the Cardinal washed the feet of 12 people, just as Christ washed the feet of the apostles at the Last Supper.

In his homily, the Cardinal explained that the Mass of the Lord’s Supper was a retelling of the story of God’s love for each one of us. “By his passion and death — by his self offering on the cross, Jesus would show us his limitless love for the Father and for us. In his blood he would wash away all of our sins, all of our failure, everything that would keep us from God.”

The Cardinal told the congregation that Jesus knew that within one generation the story of his love and our redemption could be lost, so he established the Eucharist with the command, “Do this in remembrance of me.” “The Eucharist is not only the pledge and enduring sign of God’s love for us, of Christ’s love for us, but it is also an invitation to experience personally and intimately that love,” Cardinal Wuerl said.

The Cardinal also explained that the washing of the feet, like the Eucharist itself, is intended to help us once again hear the story of God’s love. “Lest we forget that a part of God’s love for us and our love for God is our love for one another, Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles. Everything is love. This action simply reminds us that God loves each of us and in that love he calls us to love one another,” he said.

He challenged everyone gathered to “think of all of the ways in which we are capable of showing love for others. Maybe not as dramatically as washing their feet but in a way that truly shows we care: by a word of forgiveness, by a gesture of welcome, by a sign of caring.”

After Mass, the Eucharist was moved in a solemn procession to a chapel for silent adoration, and the altar and sanctuary were stripped of all ornamentation in preparation of Good Friday, the day Christ died on the cross. Mass is not held in Catholic churches on Good Friday.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 97 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Chieko Noguchi
Office of Media and Public Relations
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