The Sacred Triduum

Catholics celebrate the saving mystery of Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection in three successive rites held over three holy days called the sacred Easter Triduum or Paschal Triduum.

Following the Jewish practice of starting days at sunset, the three days from evening on Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday are considered a single liturgical day and the most holy time of the Church’s liturgical year.

The annual liturgy of the Sacred Triduum demonstrates how Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection from the dead are connected in the Paschal Mystery.

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday commemorates when Jesus celebrated the Passover and washed the feet of the Apostles. He institued the priesthood and the Eucharist. The day is also known as Maundy Thursday because of Jesus issuing a new commandment to love one another as He has loved us. The Blessed Sacrament is adored in silence into the evening.

Jesus’ redemptive suffering and death is the focus of Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion as the story is read from the Gospel of John and the wood of the Cross is venerated. There is no Mass but the Eucharist is received from what was reserved from the night before.

Holy Saturday is a day of silence as Catholics remember when Jesus descended to be with the dead. We wait with the Blessed Mother for Jesus’ promises to be fulfilled.

Finally, the light of the Easter fire and the Paschal Candle and the singing of the Alleluia in the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord at the Easter Vigil symbolize Jesus’ victory over sin and death. A series of readings from Sacred Scripture tell of God’s activity throughout salvation history. Those who are becoming Catholic receive the Sacraments of Initiation while the faithful renew their baptismal promises.

A beautiful journey of faith with Christ:

Immersed in the dying and rising of Christ:

At this the Jews answered and said to Jesus, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when He was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that He had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. While He was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs He was doing.

John 2: 18-23

One liturgy over a three day period:

A liturgical season in itself:

The high point of the liturgical year:

We are living the holy days that invite us to meditate on the central events of our Redemption, the essential core of our faith. Tomorrow the Easter Triduum begins, the fulcrum of the whole Liturgical Year in which we are called to silence and prayer in order to contemplate the mystery of the Passion, death and Resurrection of the Lord. In their Homilies the Fathers often referred to these days which, as St Athanasius observed in one of his Easter Letters, bring “us to a new beginning, even the announcement of the blessed Passover, in which the Lord was sacrificed”. I therefore urge you to live these days intensely, so that they may decisively direct the life of each one to generous and convinced adherence to Christ, who died and rose for us.

Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 31 March 2010

Remembering Jesus’ total gift of Himself :

The summit of all that Jesus did:

Beginning with the Easter Triduum as its source of light, the new age of the Resurrection fills the whole liturgical year with its brilliance. Gradually, on either side of this source, the year is transfigured by the liturgy. It really is a “year of the Lord’s favor.” The economy of salvation is at work within the framework of time, but since its fulfillment in the Passover of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the culmination of history is anticipated “as a foretaste,” and the kingdom of God enters into our time.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1168

Remembering Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection:

Three days to focus on the Paschal Mystery:

Experiencing the Christian mystery in a unique way:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Called to be totally united to Christ:

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