Holy Thursday

Also known as

  • Maundy Thursday
  • Shear Thursday


The Thursday before Easter, commemorating the institution of the Holy Eucharist. On this day only one Mass may be celebrated in each church, at which an additional Host is consecrated and borne in procession to the Altar of Repose to be used at the Mass of the Presanctified on the following day. The ringing of bells ceases after the Gloria in the Mass until Holy Saturday, and after vespers the altars are stripped, and were formerly washed with wine and water. This was followed by the washing of the feet, called the Mandatum from the words of the first antiphon sung during the ceremony, which is not now universally performed, when the principal priest of the church assisted by the deacon and sub-deacon washed the feet of twelve poor men in imitation of Christ, who washed the feet of the twelve Apostles. The holy oils are consecrated on this day by the bishop and it was formerly the day on which penitents were reconciled to the Church. The night office celebrated is called Tenebrae. The name Shear Thursday came from the former custom of shearing the beard on that day.

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Holy Thursday“. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 October 2021. Web. 7 December 2021. <>