A friend said he was looking forward
to celebrating the Triduum. Can you
explain that word to me?
The word triduum is Latin meaning “three
days.” In the early part of the 1900s, most
major feasts of the Church were preceded
by three days of prayer and pious exercises
in preparation for the feast at hand. Today
we use the word to refer to the paschal
Triduum. These three days celebrate
Christianity’s most sacred events—the
passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
The official beginning of the paschal
Triduum takes place the evening of Holy
Thursday, when we celebrate the Mass
of the Lord’s Supper. This day is also referred
to as Maundy Thursday, because
Jesus gives a command (mandatum) to
his followers to be an example of love
and service to others. The Mass of the
Lord’s Supper ends in somber stillness, as
the tabernacle is emptied and the altar is
stripped bare. The priests, ministers, and
congregation then exit in silence.
Good Friday is a day of somber quiet,
as we relive the passion and death of Jesus.
The service centers on the solemn
veneration of the cross. Holy Saturday is
characterized by the spirit of waiting and
quiet anticipation until the festive Easter
Vigil, celebrated in the evening, when the
Church comes alive with the new light of
Christ and catechumens are joyfully received
into the eucharistic community.
The Triduum ends with Evening Prayer on
From Dear Padre: Questions Catholics Ask,
© 2003 Liguori Publications
© 2018 Liguori Publications, Liguori, MO 63057-9999. Printed in USA. Imprimatur: “In accordance
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March 11, 2018