The Triduum – The Completion of Lent

easter triduumThe Triduum – the three days beginning on the evening of Holy Thursday and ending on Easter Sunday – is an opportunity to experience the essence of Lent and more. The high point of the liturgical life of the Church, the Triduum allows us to walk with Jesus in his mission of salvation from suffering and death to glorious resurrection. As we do so, we are moving from death to life in our own lives, just as we did in baptism.

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening commemorates the institution of the Eucharist, the day Christ shared his body and blood with us so that we may have eternal life with him. Holy Thursday also features Jesus washing the feet of his apostles, an emblem of his call – and ours – to serve not to be served. Earlier in the day, priests of each diocese gather for the Mass of the Holy Chrism, renewing their pastoral vows of service to the People of God.

Although no Masses are celebrated on Good Friday, the Church comes together to read from Scripture and to pray for the whole world. Veneration of the Cross is a common custom and is done through a simple touch or a kiss. This is not only a time to mourn the death of Jesus on the cross, but a moment to remember that through his death on the cross, we are given eternal life with him.

The silence of Holy Saturday and Good Friday are broken with the joy filled return of the bells during the Gloria. The Easter Vigil Mass includes the Liturgy of Baptism, as we welcome our catecuhumens into the Church while the rest of the congregation publicly renews our baptismal vows. It is a further sign of our sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our Easter celebration will continue for another 50 days until Pentecost.

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