Maundy (or Holy) Thursday solemnly commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and is the oldest of the observances peculiar to Holy Week.
In Rome various accessory ceremonies were early added to this commemoration, namely the consecration of the holy oils and the reconciliation of penitents, ceremonies obviously practical in character and readily explained by the proximity of the Christian Easter and the necessity of preparing for it. Holy Thursday could not but be a day of liturgical reunion since, in the cycle of movable feasts, it brings around the anniversary of the institution of the Liturgy. On that day, whilst the preparation of candidates was being completed, the Church celebrated the Missa chrismalis of which we have already described the rite and, moreover, proceeded to the reconciliation of penitents.
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