A question often asked is “What iss all the fuss or what is so important about the Easter Triduum or Paschal Triduum?”
This week in the mail, you should receive an invitation requesting your presence at the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil/Sunday). These three days are most important days of the Church’s liturgical year, (yes – even more important than Christmas) and the three days are actually one continuum of the celebration of our redemption. I hope my reflections today will give you food for thought and encourage you to participate in all of the Easter Triduum. As I prepared for this article, I relied on documents and materials provided by the United Catholic Conference Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy.
Beginning with Ash Wednesday, we are preparing for Easter. Please keep in mind Lent does not end on Easter Sunday. Lent ends when the Easter Triduum begins, on Holy Thursday. The Triduum lasts for three days - Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday. It is a celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
On Holy Thursday, we remember the Last Supper, when Jesus gave us the Eucharist… Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me." Likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20) At this celebration, we also remember Jesus’ example of service, to which we are all called, he washed the feet of his disciples as an example. On Holy Thursday the presider, and other members of the parish, usually wash the feet of all those present who wish to participate. The only Mass celebrated on Holy Thursday is in the evening. Daytime Masses are not scheduled anywhere in our Universal Church, the evening Mass begins the Easter Triduum.
On Good Friday, we remember the passion and death of Jesus Christ. It is a day of fasting and abstinence. The afternoon service, the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday - the Passion of Christ is proclaimed, we pray for the universal needs of the world and Church, we are given the opportunity to venerate the cross and have the opportunity to share in the Eucharist (which is consecrated on Holy Thursday). In the evening, the Stations of the Cross are prayed. Both the Solemn Liturgy and the Stations of the Cross do end in quiet and darkness as we prepare for the Light of Christ, which will burn again at the Easter Vigil.
Easter Vigil is when we proclaim with fire and song that Jesus Christ has risen. The Vigil Mass is a little longer, but is one of the most amazing Masses of the year - at least in my experience. At the Easter Vigil, we welcome those who have been preparing to enter the Roman Catholic Church.
Easter Sunday is separate from the Triduum, but it is obviously part of the part of our story of redemption. To experience the fullness of the Easter story - the Easter Triduum - the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, please consider giving yourself the awesome gift of attending the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, a service on Good Friday and either the Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday Mass.
I hope you can join us physically and in spirit as we celebrate these high holy days of our Catholic faith.
Finally thank you for completing and returning the Mass Survey! Please keep the Clustering Committee in your prayers; they will be meeting Monday, March 22. May the Lord continue to bless our journey forward!
Blessings in 2021!
Let us continue to pray for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,