Metropolitan Borys Gudziak Leads Holy Thursday Observance at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Philadelphia, March 28, 2024 — Catholics worldwide paused on Holy Thursday to commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples, a significant event marking the establishment of two cornerstone elements of the faith: the Holy Eucharist and the priesthood.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia hosted a service led by Metropolitan Borys Gudziak. He presided over Vespers with the Liturgy of Saint Basil, and adhering to an ancient tradition washed the feet of clergy of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.

In his homily, Archbishop Gudziak focused on tangible aspects of the Christian tradition, emphasizing the significance of sensory experiences such as light, smells, and sounds. He particularly highlighted the aroma of myrrh with which Jesus was anointed before the Last Supper, noting, "This fragrance is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus is crowned with a thorn, He is anointed as the King of Life, of Eternal Life. He receives a royal anointing that gives Him a vitality allowing Him to pass through death, to enter its deepest quarters, and from there to to pull out Adam and Eve and whole human race."

Acknowledging contemporary challenges marked by conflict and despair, Archbishop Gudziak acknowledged the pervasive "smell of death" in regions like Ukraine, Gaza, and Latin America, as well as in communities facing hardships such as those on the Mexican border and in families affected by addiction. "But that odor has been overcome by the aroma of the Holy Spirit."

"Let us in these days see and hear, let us touch, let us smell to perceive the fragrance of the Lord," Archbishop Gudziak concluded.

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