Holy Thursday

In my role with the National Liturgy Office Catherine Gibbs and I (the NLO team) have been working together to co-ordinate a Good Friday online liturgy with people in different parts of the country leading us in prayer. This will be available on the NLO website www.nlo.org.nz  at 3.00pm tomorrow Good Friday.

We are aware of many wonderful initiatives being taken online already by dioceses and parishes and our first thought was not to do anything that might take people away from these. But then I was aware too of the many people who are not connected to particular Catholic communities who might appreciate an invitation to prayer, as well as the many small communities that I have served over the years who may not be able to arrange their own parish reflection, I think of people I know on the Chatham Islands, in parts of the Hurunui, Cheviot, Hawarden, Waiau, Amberley, Hanmer, and in more remote parts of the West Coast, Ngahere, Dobson, Nelson Creek, Rotomanu, Moana, Ruru, Totara Flat, Blackball and Taylorville and many similar small communities of faith around the country.

While in recent decades the Chrism Mass has been celebrated on an evening earlier in Holy Week to enable more priests and people to take part, Holy Thursday morning is the traditional time for the Mass of Chrism at which priests renew their priestly commitment and at which the Holy Oils which are the tools-of-trade for the priest are blessed. This year the lock-down prevents this Mass (and the Holy Thursday evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper) from taking place.

These days are difficult for all people, but could I ask that today, on this feast of priesthood, you spare a thought and pray a prayer for priests. We priests feel paralysed in a rather unique way since we are not able to respond to the needs of people especially the sick and dying who express their need for priestly ministry. While we do what we can online and by phone, celebrating Mass without people is a poor substitute for the active participation we usually have with the people we love and serve.

So please pray for us priests today on our feast day.

The rite of the renewal of priestly commitment used at the Chrism Mass is in blue text at the bottom of this page.

Below you will also find:

  • A four-minute podcast reflection for Holy Thursday.
  • A 20 minute prayer reflection using the gospel for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Simply find a quiet spot, turn off cell phone, press play and pray.

Thanks Sammy for this Holy Thursday artwork.



After the homily the bishop speaks to the priests in these or similar words:

My brothers, today we celebrate the memory of the first eucharist, at which our Lord Jesus Christ shared with his apostles and with us his call to the priestly service of his Church. Now, in the presence of your bishop and God’s holy people, are you ready to renew your own dedication to Christ as priests of his new covenant?

Priests: I am.

Bishop: At your ordination you accepted the responsibilities of the priesthood out of love for the Lord Jesus and his Church. Are you resolved to unite yourselves more closely to Christ and to try to become more like him by joyfully sacrificing your own pleasure and ambition to bring his peace and love to your brothers and sisters?

Priests: I am.

Bishop: Are you resolved to be faithful ministers of the mysteries of God, to celebrate the eucharist and the other liturgical services with sincere devotion? Are you resolved to imitate Jesus Christ, the head and shepherd of the Church, by teaching the Christian faith without thinking of your own profit, solely for the well-being of the people you were sent to serve?

Priests: I am.

Then the bishop addresses the people: My brothers and sisters, pray for your priests. Ask the Lord to bless them with the fullness of his love, to help them be faithful ministers of Christ the High Priest, so that they will be able to lead you to him, the fountain of your salvation.

People: Lord Jesus Christ, hear us and answer our prayer.

Bishop: Pray also for me that despite my own unworthiness I may faithfully fulfil the office of apostle which Jesus Christ has entrusted to me. Pray that I may become more like our High Priest and Good Shepherd, the teacher and servant of all, and so be a genuine sign of Christ’s loving presence among you.

People: Lord Jesus Christ, hear us and answer our prayer.

Bishop: May the Lord in his love keep you close to him always, and may he bring all of us, his priests and people, to eternal life. All: Amen.

14 Responses to "Holy Thursday"
  1. This is a really nice prayer for our Priests. And I love the participation of the Bishop and the people in praying these words. I am looking forward to the renewed invigorated faith when we can all attend mass together in the future. Its somewhat of a journey towards a small paradise? A precursor we would pray to our journey to Heaven. Thanks be to God that our mortality rate is really low in NZ at 0.05% our efforts are saving loved ones. Thanks Father John.

    • Praise be to God for our dear Priests. Thank you brothers for serving us in love. All Glory be to our good God who chose you to be ministers of His love and grace. May God richly bless you in every way and lead us all closer to His glorious Mercy. When all is said and done, LOVE IS.

  2. They are beautiful words spoken by our Dear Priests. Thank You Almighty God and bless our Priests in every way for Your glory. In Jesus name.

  3. Thank you Fr John for guiding us into the tridium. May your liturgies prepared for home use go well and be fully embraced. May you continue to be blessed and strengthened in your Priesthood . Blessings Mary

  4. An example! Copy Me! What a challenge, but I take strength that Peter, who became the rock that the Church was built on just didn’t get it for such a long time… so I will continue to trust that God is leading me.
    I will pray today for you, Father John, and all of the priests, that Christ will bring His light and peace to you all.
    Looking forward to the Easter Tridiuum journey with you all.

  5. Blessing and gratitude John from your brother priest.

    However the ones I want to thank are all the people and families who mould us as servant priests. Thank you for love and challenge, for sharing and praying.
    You are the ones who keep us grounded and human.
    Thank you

  6. Thank you for your commitment especially for those of us who really are isolated. To be a Blessing for all this Easter.

  7. May the Lord ease the suffering of not being able to be close to your people in these times and show you how rewarding your work and prayers and advice is for so many of us…thank you.
    You are all in my prayers.

  8. Thank you Fr John. Gently hold all the priests in prayer with gratitude. Again thank you for the Leading to embrace the Tridium with newer insights.

  9. Thanks Father John for bringing the special needs of priests and religious to our minds in these unprecedented days as we enter the sacred triduum. We will keep them in our prayers as I am sure they keep us in theirs.

  10. What blessing l feel being part of all that we share, God Bless all and you John and your fellow Priests.

  11. Yes of course, a special day to pray for our priests. Am always deeply moved when we participate at this Mass, where priests renew their commitment to priestly service…a great sense of gratitude. Will remember our Bishop and priests in the Luminous Mystery The Miracle of the Wedding Feast at Cana…we pray that all priests may turn to Mary in times of need. Blessings in Carmel, Megan

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