St Anne's & St Joseph's RC Parish

——  Accrington • Diocese of Salford  ——

St Anne's & St Joseph's
RC Parish

—  Accrington • Diocese of Salford  —


Holy Thursday

As we approach the Sacred Triduum. Here is an explanation of a lesser known liturgy of Holy Week.

Holy Thursday – The Stripping of the Altar

This mournful rite announces the suspension of the Sacrifice. The altar must remain naked and stripped. Our Lord is in the hands of the Jews, who will strip Him of His clothes, as we strip His altar. He will be exposed naked to the outrages of the entire people. The Church accompanies this sad ceremony with the chant of Psalm 21, showing the Roman soldiers dividing his garments at the foot of the cross.

The cloths and the ornaments of the altar symbolise the Apostles. The altar is therefore stripped, because at their flight, Christ was left alone, as the Gospel says ‘Then the disciples all leaving Him. fled’ The altar is covered again on the third day, since after His resurrection, the Apostles returned to him.

The stripping of the altar represents also that Christ, on the cross, was stripped of his garment, showing that he was also stripped of the glory of His divinity, hence the Psalmist’s cry ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

The image of desolation is everywhere. The tabernacle itself has lost its Divine Guest. All is silent, all is frozen in the holy temple. The majesty of our God has withdrawn to the remote sanctuary where the universal Victim lie.

Text Credit to my Confreres in the ICKSP at New Brighton


St Anne’s, Cobham Road,
Accrington, BB5 2AD.
Tel: 01254 232 920

St Joseph’s, Belgarth Road,
Accrington, BB5 6AH.


Rev Fr Francis Wadsworth (parish priest)
Rev Fr Robert Livesey (retired)

Parish Administrator

Mrs Siobhan Wood
Tel: 01254 232 920

Office Hours

Mon: 8:30am to 12:30pm
Tues, Thurs: 8:30am to 1:30pm