Manresa Moment: Holy Thursday, April 9

Today, Holy Thursday, marks the beginning of the holiest days of the Christian calendar: the Paschal Triduum, the three days commemorating the last days of Jesus's life, his arrest and crucifixion, and burial -- in anticipation of the celebration of Jesus's resurrection on Easter Sunday. In typical years, these days are marked by many hours of elaborate liturgies and crowded community celebrations.

Our celebration of Triduum and Easter this year will be different than we're used to, but no less prayerful. Over the coming days, we invite you to explore many ways to observe and celebrate these holy days, whether individually or with your household members. 


Today's Moment

  • John 13:1-15

    Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
    to pass from this world to the Father.
    He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
    The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
    So, during supper,
    fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
    and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
    he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
    He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
    Then he poured water into a basin
    and began to wash the disciples’ feet
    and dry them with the towel around his waist.
    He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
    “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.”

    So when he had washed their feet
    and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
    he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
    You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’  and rightly so, for indeed I am.
    If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
    you ought to wash one another’s feet.
    I have given you a model to follow,
    so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”



  • Reflection

    Patrick Furlong, Interim Director of the Center for Service and Action


    I have been thinking a lot about service and community these days. For starters, it’s my job. But it runs deeper than that. On February 15th my boss, Pam Rector, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. My world and that of the CSA staff and so many who loved Pam were turned upside down on that day. We struggled to make sense of her loss, which felt particularly cruel as she had just received the kidney she had long awaited and for the first time in a couple years, so many of us felt hope rather than worry about her future.

    In the days following her death, we had more food, flowers, and tears of solidarity delivered to our office than we knew what to do with. So many wrapped us in their warm embrace and journeyed alongside us as we stumbled through our grief. I remember a call from one senior leader on campus. “I don’t do grief well” they told me. “I don’t know if any of us do really. But I know that people need to eat and that in times like these, it’s better to eat with other people instead of alone.” I returned to the office later that afternoon and was greeted with an abundance of food and laughter as student and professional staff sat around sharing stories about Pam.

    Later we realized we needed prayer cards and didn’t know where to get them in a rush. We emailed Dean Bryant Alexander to ask where the beautiful prayer cards used for Judy Scalin’s service were printed and his email, to this day, makes me emotional. He responded by looping in his communication manager and said “The campus is in collective mourning once again with the loss of our dear friend Pam Rector. I would like to gift her prayer cards to The Center of Service and Action—and thereby assist them during this difficult time.” When the cards were printed, Bryant personally delivered them to our office. He hugged me tightly and told me what I so needed to hear: “We are with you in action my friend, we are here for you.” In the midst of my grief, a friend had reminded me I was not alone in navigating a difficult time.

    Grief and suffering are not equal, this we know. Yet as we journey through Holy Week, I am struck by one truth that makes this Easter season different than any other in my lifetime: Across the entire world today, we all intimately know something about grief and challenge. I feel a particular kinship to the apostles who grieved the loss of Jesus during this time. I don’t know their particular grief, but I do know something of grief. The same could be said of all of us and the challenges we each distinctly face amidst this pandemic: I may not know the challenges you face, but I know something of challenge. You may not understand my grief, but you are traversing your own grief in this unprecedented moment in our global history. Our grief and challenge are distinct and yet now like never before- also so communal. Solidarity beckons us more fully into relationship with one another.

    At the center of our Jesuit and Marymount traditions, we are called into community, particularly through service to one another. And it is not about mere acts of charity. Instead, we are asked to walk with people, to seek out this radical notion of kinship, and lean into the community that forms as a result. In the times of COVID-19, what does it look like to wash the feet of the people we love? For those who have the privilege (and it is indeed a privilege) to work or study from home, solidarity and kinship require social distancing in these strange and difficult times. I find myself thankful for everyone taking seriously the call to action through social distancing. I also find myself in deep gratitude for our incredible medical professionals, but also the grocery and food service employees, the migrant farm workers, the people on the front lines providing deliveries, our paramedics and emergency responders, and everyone else who is leaning into community how they can and where they can. It looks different for each of us and yet one thing is clear: In times like this, we are all called to guide our actions with community as our guide.

    In CSA, we are working with community partners near and far to figure out what service looks like in a virtual world. Our students, trained in these Jesuit and Marymount values are hungry to be nourished by community. But equally important- they’re hungry to be actively forming community in these uncertain times.

    As 1 Corinthians 12: 24-25 reminds us, “God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.” So somehow, amidst the grief, anxiety, and distance, I feel an unshakable hope: COVID-19 has already taken and will continue to take so much from so many of us, this we know. But I refuse to yield my hope and my humanity to it. We grieve the losses it hands us, but we do not do it alone. Thanks be to God, we do not do it alone. May everyone we encounter over Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook and so many other platforms feel the power of community only made possible through love and hope.



    For ideas and ways to serve, advocate, and work for justice in the time of coronavirus, visit CSA's Virtual Opportunities page.




    One element of the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper is the rite often called the Mandatum. The word comes from the Latin translation of Jesus' words at the Last Supper (Jn 13:14) and the first word of one of the antiphons that can be chanted during the ceremony: "Mandatum novum do vobis...": "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

    In this rite of washing one another's feet, we follow the example of Jesus by demonstrating love, care, and service in a profound and intimate way. This evening, we invite you to participate in your own Mandatum in your home.



    1. First, cultivate a prayerful atmosphere. Light a candle or play some quiet music. Remove your shoes. If needed, prepare a pitcher of water, a bowl, and a towel.


    2. Play "This is How" as a musical meditation (below).

    • If you are praying by yourself, take some time in imaginative prayer as you listen. Imagine Jesus washing your feet. What do you see, hear, smell, and how do you feel? What does Jesus say to you? What do you want to say to Jesus?

    • If you are praying with other members of your household, have the person(s) whose feet are to be washed sit on a chair or couch and place the bowl in front of them. The person washing feet will kneel on the floor, pour water over each person’s feet, and dry them with a towel.

    If you wish, sing along to the hymn using this worship aid.


    3. Finally, close your time in prayer with a moment of silence.



Musical Meditation

"This is How" - Chris de Silva



More ways to pray today

Holy Thursday Message from Fr. Allan Deck
Fr. Allan Deck, SJ reflects on reminders of our interdependence
Streaming Prayer
Join live prayer services from LMU and more