Holiday Almanac: Maundy Thursday, birth of Holy Communion
Today (April 12, 2017) is Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday, the anniversary of the Last Supper, which Jesus ate with his disciples before he was seized by his enemies.
At the supper, Jesus instituted the sacrament of Holy Communion, ordering his followers to “do this in remembrance of me.” The day takes its name from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “command.”
Churches typically hold Holy Communion, or the Eucharist, as it’s called in Catholic churches. Some even re-enact the Last Supper in full costume, with dialogue straight from the Bible.
Catholic priests also use Holy Thursday to wash the feet of 12 selected parishioners, repeating a practice Jesus did with his disciples at the Last Supper. The pope, too, does so with people in Rome.
— JAMES D. DAVIS