Paschal Triduum

paschal triduum

I had never heard about this until this year.  Well if I had heard of it, I didn’t really pay attention to it.  We are in the midst of Holy Week.  That I always knew.  I knew when Holy week was and what happens but I never took note of the saying Paschal Triduum. So what is it?

Triduum is a three day period of prayer before a Roman Catholic feast.  Lent ends and the Paschal Triduum leads up to Easter.

holy thursday

It starts with Holy Thursday.  This is the day that Jesus celebrated the Last Supper.  Chrism masses are celebrated in each diocese where the priests and the Bishop gather to consecrate the holy oils that are used for Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick.  I have never been to one of these masses but would love to attend one someday.  Each church also only celebrates one mass on this day at sundown.  The mass is the celebration of the Last Super.  Just as Jesus washed the feet of his apostles, the priest at each church washes the feet of an elect 12.  This reminds us of John 13.  God wants us to take care of each other and love one another as he loved us

Before Pope Francis came along the washing of the feet always took place at the Vatican or the Basilica of St. John Lateran.  Only 12 men in the service were chosen prior to Pope Francis.  Pope Francis has washed the feet of young people from a juvenile detention center, the elderly and disabled.   This year he chose 12 inmates and a baby.  It saddens me to think that this might cause controversy because it shouldn’t.  It is the exact example that Jesus would smile on.  He is doing exactly as Jesus would do.  He is showing all of us what truly loving one another means.

Holy Thursday ends with Judas betraying Jesus.  The altar is cleared and becomes bare until Easter.

good friday

Good Friday is next.  We solemnize the passion of Jesus.  Our church carries an extremely large cross through the streets of the town and the 12 Stations of the Cross are read and pondered on.  Other churches act out the Stations of the Cross.  We also fast and abstain from meat on this day.  Why?  Fasting can allow us to pray more clearly and can help to draw us closer to God.  I think being in tune to how your body feels and the effects of not eating can be amazing, an eye opener.  We don’t eat meat in Honor of Jesus’s death.  It’s a form of penance.  Both of these are our own little sacrifices that we can make to show our love for God and bring us closer to him.  We remember and participate in some very small way, in the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us on this day.

holy saturday

Holy Saturday is the day that Jesus descended to the dead to bring the righteous to Heaven.  The altar remains bare until the Easter Vigil.  At the Easter vigil the candles are re-lit and the celebration of Easter begins.  Jesus has risen from the dead!!!

Happy Easter to all!!!



copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent


I am a mother of three children who is trying to fulfill all the ‘traditional’ ideas of a stay at home mom. I am a cook, maid, shopper, chauffeur and the laundry lady. I am also their protector, mentor, religious educator and guidance counselor. I have chosen to raise them in a Catholic household.

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