Thursday, 9 April 2015
March 27th - Mandy Thursday Afternoon - The Mandatum
After the Gospel the celebrant removes the violet cope and puts on an apron. The ministers remove their maniples. Meanwhile thirteen Canons or paupers seated on benches remove their shoes and socks. Acolytes take a basin, ewer, towels and a plate bearing coins to the first of them. The celebrant kneels before the Canon, or pauper, and water is poured over their right foot, held by the subdeacon. The deacon passes a towel to the celebrant (with the usual oscula) and the celebrant dries the foot and kisses it. He then gives the pauper a coin who takes it and kisses the celebrant's hand. This process is repeated for all thirteen.
During this the choir sings the antiphon Mandatum novum (the text giving Mandy Thursday its English name). Eight other antiphons are provided including the famous Ubi caritas. After the last pauper's foot has been washed the celebrant and ministers return to the credence where the celebrant washes his hands and resumes the violet cope. They go to the Epistle corner and there the celebrant intones Pater noster (continued in silence), some versicles and the collect Adesto. All then return to the sacristy.
The Roman authors mention that the feet of thirteen paupers are washed and that after the service they are given a good dinner, new clothes and some money.