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Paschal Triduum

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Meister_des_Hausbuches_003(Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles by Meister des Hausbuches, 1475 (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin))

Paschal Triduum (literally “three days”), extends from the evening of Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday morning, a three-day during which the Church celebrate the famous Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.

The effective duration is three days, but, starting in the evening, the Triduum is astride four calendar days:

  • Holy Thursday recalls the celebration of the Last Supper and the washing of feet, reminding the ministry of service or diakonia.

  • Good Friday is the anniversary of the death of Jesus. The Catholic Church does no more celebrate the Eucharist until Sunday. Communion is given with hosts that were consecrated on Holy Thursday. The focus is on the Liturgy of the Word with the reading of the Passion narrative and psalms announcing Jesus’ pain.

  • Holy Saturday. The vigil starts after sunset on Saturday. Generally, the intrinsic mass at the Easter Vigil begins at midnight, so Sunday.

On Easter Sunday, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after His Passion began, is the holiest day of the Christian calendar. It marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Easter season. Easter Sunday is the highlight of the Triduum, when the church begins in darkness, to celebrate the light of the Resurrection with the Mass of the Easter Vigil. After the starting of the day, other celebrations are held.

Catholic liturgy, the celebrations of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, may be considered as one Eucharist during three days. Indeed, the Roman Missal states explicitly that the celebration of the Eucharist is to be completed in silence, without the blessing and sending prayers which usually ends the celebration of the Eucharist.

The celebration of the Passion begins with the gathering of the faithful in silence and without host prayer, and ends in the same way in silence and without prayer.

The Easter Vigil begins around a fire, blessed by the celebrant, lighting the Paschal candle. The Eucharist ends with a solemn blessing and sending traditional formula: “Go in the peace of Christ” to which the opportunity to add, and during all the Easter “Alleluia, alleluia! “.

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