Posted by: resparish | April 13, 2011

Triduum – the Heart of Holy Week

Have you had a chance to go on retreat this year?  We’ve got a three-day retreat coming up.  It’s called Easter Triduum (“three days”), the high point of the liturgical year which celebrates the Paschal Mystery – the passion and resurrection of Jesus.  Triduum is a time to pray, reflect and walk with Jesus in the final days of his earthly life and his resurrection.  Holy Thursday commemorates the day that Jesus instituted the Eucharist, Good Friday the day he died on the cross, and the Easter Vigil his emergence from the tomb.

Triduum is one celebration which lasts three days.  We begin Holy Thursday evening at 7:00 pm with the Mass of the Last Supper.  At the beginning of the Holy Thursday liturgy, the holy oils blessed by the bishop in the Chrism Mass are carried in procession.  We are reminded of our unity with those all around our diocese through these oils that were blessed in the cathedral at the Chrism Mass.

Eucharist calls us to love and service.  In the washing of feet, which takes place after the homily of the Mass, the priests wash the feet of 12 parishioners just as Jesus, in love and service, washed the feet of his 12 apostles at the Last Supper.  We are called to do as Jesus did, to humbly serve one another.  By serving others, we fulfill Jesus’ commandment to love one another as he loves us.

Because there is no Mass on Good Friday, enough host are consecrated at the Mass on Holy Thursday to use at both liturgies.  After Holy Communion, the Eucharist is transferred in procession to the Altar of Repose in Farana Center where the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place until 10:00 pm.  The liturgy ends in silence because we are not finished.  We gather the next day to continue our Passover feast.

CrossesAt noon on Good Friday, we will celebrate the Living Stations of the Cross.  The remainder of the traditional “Three Hours” (Noon to 3:00 pm) are for quiet prayer and reflection.

No Mass is celebrated on Good Friday.  Our Solemn Liturgical Service, at 7:00 pm, begins silently where Holy Thursday left off.  Our service includes the reading of the Passion according to John, prayers of intercession for the Church and the world, the Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion.

Paschal Candle“This is the night!”  This ancient Easter proclamation says it all.  Our whole Triduum journey leads to this night, the high point of the year, the Easter Vigil, our most magnificent celebration filled with rich images of fire, water, oil, darkness and light.  this is the night we gather around the fire in darkness to celebrate Christ, the light of the world.  This is the night we welcome the elect into the Church through Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.  This is the night we finally sign “Alleluia” for the first time since Ash Wednesday.  This is the night of Resurrection – Christ has risen!

We gather at 8:00 pm on the school grounds outside of Farana Center to gather around the paschal fire from which the Paschal Candle, our symbol of the Risen Christ, is lit.  We process into the church following this light of Christ to hear the words from the Old Testament followed by the Exultet: “Rejoice, heavenly powers!”  Our liturgy continues with our first Easter Mass at which we celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism Confirmation and Eucharist with our elect.

Jesus invited us to wake up; to come to our senses; to transform our hearts and minds and lives; to become like Christ so that we can carry out his mission and live the Good News.  Each Easter, we are called to die to our old selves and rise with Christ.  If we fully immerse ourselves in the practices and celebrations of Lent and Triduum, how can we not be changed?