Bishop Flores officiates Last Supper Mass at cathedral

Heads bowed Thursday evening as Catholic churches across Brownsville held masses in celebration of Holy Thursday.

Bishop Daniel E. Flores officiated the ceremony at Immaculate Conception Cathedral and said the mass marked the occasion of the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.

Statues at the cathedral were draped in purple cloth, a solemn sign the church was preparing for Passion Week.

“Traditionally, we begin to cover the statues two weeks before Easter Sunday as a sign that we are getting close to the Passion Week, which is this week,“ Flores said. “The statues will be uncovered Saturday night at the Easter vigil in celebration of the Joy of the Resurrection.“

Flores, like many priests across Brownsville, washed the feet of 12 parishioners selected to represent the disciples of Jesus during the mass.

“Jesus washed the feet of his disciples before the Last Supper,“ Flores said. “It’s a sign of his self-emptying and coming as a humble servant to wash the feet of the world.“

After the mass, there was a procession to take the holy Eucharist to a side altar, and the whole sentry was stripped as a sign that the Lord has gone into his Passion, according to the bishop.

Longtime friends Gloria Butcher Gonzalez and Aurora Smith attended the mass.

“We begin our liturgical walk with the Lord through his last days as our savior and our king. We stand with him, not just in word or by mouth, but actually by action to become part of the celebration and part of the liturgy and part of the love that was poured out for us,“ Butcher Gonzalez said.

Although Butcher Gonzalez said she attends another church, she wanted to attend the mass at Immaculate Conception because it holds special ties to her family.

“I was baptized here,” she said. “My parents were married here, and in coming back to the cathedral there is such richness in being here during this special time.“

Flores said ceremonies would be held today, Good Friday, in honor of Passion Week.

“Most churches will have a station of the cross during the day and a solemn evening ceremony with the veneration of the cross, where the cross is exposed and people have a chance to participate in the veneration of the cross by kissing the cross,” Flores said.