The Easter experience begins with Maundy Thursday, continues all night to Good Friday and completes itself at the Great Vigil.
The name 'Maundy' derives from the Latin for 'new commandment' – mandatum novum – which Christ (according to John) gave his disciples at the 'Last Supper'.
Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of the Great Three Days. This holiest time of the year contains differing emphases, but it is, nevertheless, a continuum.
This is a very rich liturgy. The Gospel speaks of love and service, which are also expressed in the ceremony of the foot washing.
The New Testament reading records the institution of the Lord's Supper.
The evening setting highlights the nearness of the betrayal and approaching passion of Jesus.
At the end of the service, a silent Watch or Prayer Vigil may be observed until the Good Friday liturgy.
During the Watch people sit in silent meditation on the Eucharist.
The Watch symbolises watching with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest.