A trip through the Triduum

A trip through the Triduum

Mary J Appleton

Easter is officially here. Lent is over, no more fasting and almsgiving, although those are great things to continue. Easter is here now and we get to celebrate in the glory of our God, Jesus Christ. The end of Lent is called the triduum, it consists of Holy Thursday evening, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

These days are jam-packed with imagery, messages and life changing liturgies. The triduum kicks off with the Holy Thursday mass. This is the recount of the Last Supper with Jesus and his Apostles. This mass is so moving and eye opening. It begins joyful and exciting but as the mass goes on it becomes more and more solemn until all the things on the altar and around it, the chairs, tables, everything up there that can be moved will be moved, to reveal a bare altar. The Eucharist is taken away and put in a side chapel. The tabernacle is left open and empty, there is no holy water in the fount.

On Good Friday the church is found the same way it was left on Holy Thursday. This is the day that Jesus is crucified for our sins.  The whole liturgy is solemn and plain. There is no music, no consecration of the Eucharist and the tabernacle is still empty so there is a sense that something is missing in the church. Everything reflects the idea of being empty.

Then the Easter Vigil is the next mass. This is a long and beautiful celebration of the resurrection. It begins outside by the easter fire. Next, seven old testament readings are said, they start at the creation stories and continue until they get to Jesus. Then people that have been training for a very long time receive the sacraments of initiation which is so beautiful to witness. Finally we can all celebrate our Lord conquering death and sing Alleluia! Again and again! Easter is here and He is risen, truly He is risen!