Holy Thursday – two parishes

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I have a question regarding Holy Thursday and I’m hoping you might be able to share your thoughts.

 I currently minister in two parishes that are “linked”, for lack of a better term.  For pastoral reasons, we will celebrate Holy Thursday in one church and Good Friday in the other.  Rubric #44, The Transfer of the Most Blessed Sacrament, in the Roman Missal states “If the celebration of the Passion of the Lord on the following Friday does not take place in the same church, the Mass is concluded in the usual way and the Blessed Sacrament is placed in the tabernacle.”

Would you comment on this? If the Sacred Triduum is one liturgy, why would the Mass conclude in the usual way?  One liturgist I spoke with suggested that this rubric did not envision the merging of parishes as we are now experiencing and that we conclude Holy Thursday as we normally would have.

I’d appreciate any light that you could shed on the reason for this rubric, and your advice on how we should best proceed.


A: I agree with the liturgist you consulted. The missal does not envision that one parish community is dividing its vigil among multiple locations. I think it’s envisioning a Holy Thursday Mass in a hospital or nursing home, where no Good Friday service is going to take place. In that case, the Thursday Mass would conclude in the usual way without a period of adoration.

In your case, I would conclude the liturgy with the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament and adoration. Many of the same worshipers will regroup the next day in a new location to celebrate Good Friday.