On 2 April, Maundy Thursday, Cardinal Vincent celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Cathedral. The Cardinal was joined by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, who concelebrated. The Mass remembered Christ’s institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper and the washing of His disciple’s feet. In commemoration of Jesus’s act, Cardinal Vincent washed the feet of 12 Chelsea Pensioners during the service.
In his homily, Cardinal Vincent spoke about the washing of the Disciples’ feet which he described as ‘an expression of divine love’.
‘Here we are taken to the heart of God’s love and mercy towards each one of us. This is God’s mercy; never pushing us away, always wanting us with Him. Jesus wanted us to have everything “in common” with Him. This is vividly the astonishing core of the Gospel…it is a Gospel of mercy and forgiveness where God accepts death at the hands of a betrayer, for He knows, as we know too, that He is going beyond death to be glorified in the fullness of the true life that comes after death.’
The Cardinal recounted the story of St Josephine Bakhita, a woman who became a Christian after many years of being enslaved and tortured. When asked what she would say to her captors and those that tortured her, St Josephine replied, ‘I would kneel down before them and kiss their hands, because only through their actions did I come to know Jesus.’ Cardinal Vincent explained, ‘She had lived with people who had taken her life and consumed it, but she came to know Jesus who gives His life, that we might share it.’
In addition to the washing of the feet in the Mass, all the church bells were rung during the Gloria and will now remain silent until the Gloria of the Easter Vigil on 4 April. At the end of the Mass the Blessed Sacrament was solemnly processed from the Sanctuary to the Altar of Repose in the Lady Chapel of Westminster Cathedral.
In addition to the washing of the feet in the Mass, all the church bells were rung during the Gloria and will now remain silent until the Gloria of the Easter Vigil on 4 April. At the end of the Mass the Blessed Sacrament was solemnly processed from the Sanctuary to the Altar of Repose in the Lady Chapel. These consecrated hosts will be used during the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday.
Both of the traditions of the silencing of bells and the removal of the Blessed Sacrament from the Tabernacle during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper are done to enhance the mournful atmosphere in which we commemorate the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday.
The full text of the Cardinal's homily is available HERE.