5 p.m. may have been a tad early to start the Maundy Thursday service but when the English Holy Mass started at San Thome Cathedral, leading it was the recently-appointed Archbishop Most Rev. George Antonysamy.
Midway through the service, the Archbishop removed his outer vestments and symbolically washed the feet of 12 members of the congregation who had assembled around the main altar.
This was to recall the act of Jesus at the Last Supper when he washed the feet of his disciples as an act of humility of the master.
Churches in the neighbourhood hosted Holy Week services this week which will culminate with the Easter services on Sunday – a day when people recall the resurrection of Jesus after his death.
On Friday, the local unit of St. Vincent De Paul held a blood donation camp, again a symbolic gesture of outreach on a day the congregation recalls the death of Jesus.
At the St Thomas Tamil Church in San Thome, on Friday members brought along bags full of rice and placed them at the altar.
People said they have been collecting small amounts of rice every day during the 40-day Lenten period and now made the donation to the church for local distribution.
The congregation at Our Lady of Light Church volunteered to distribute buttermilk to people who came by to attend Good Friday prayers.
The community at Lazarus Church created a huge crucifix and took turns to carry it through the lanes adjoining the church as they attended the Stations of the Cross service.
Night vigils will be held at churches on Saturday leading to the Easter services.