General Questions & Thoughts —Holy Triduum 2022.

There is rich meaning and history to the Church’s celebration from Holy Thursday through to Easter Sunday. I’ll comment on it at the bottom of this blog. First off, though, some ponderings…

Should Catholics be back from the pandemic and attending Catholic Mass at Easter?         Mostly– YES.
[Easter Sunday has 730, 900(*in hall), 1030 & 1230 at Resurrection. There are two Easter Masses at Riderwood Chapel, 900am and 200pm.] 

Pastor’s Comment: We have been back for months at Mass in a regular routine at Resurrection (and Riderwood), ever since our archbishop lifted the dispensation of missing Mass. Cardinal Gregory, with his clergy, do expect most of the diocesan flock* to have returned by now to Sunday Mass and other holy days’ observance. (Common sense prevails for those with specific situations to hold out longer—yet you should be in contact with the pastor for arrangements for Confession and Holy Communion opportunities to be afforded to your need. Don’t be alone.) 

Are there Masses on tv or the internet for me?                                                                                        There is the usual Sunday TV Mass that the Archdiocese provides for our homebound, the movement-limited folks and such others of need. There are other Masses in the media as options to watch. These are not meant to replace one’s coming to Mass for those who can do so regularly. 

Is the Triduum important to attend?   YES! 

The 3 days of Holy Thursday Mass, Good Friday liturgy, and an Easter Mass (started with the Sat. vigil) is such a blessed time of prayer, and we welcome your being here in church/chapel for each one. It’s our most holy time as Catholics, as we recall the Last Supper, Crucifixion and Burial, and The Resurrection of Jesus, our Lord. Palm Sunday starts the “holy week.” [Resurrection’s tri-nights: Thurs. 730, Fri. 730, Sat. 730] Riderwood tri-celebrations Thurs. 3pm Fri. 1pm and Sun. 9am & 2pm.]

Normally, Catholics and their families should attend some or all of The Sacred Triduum. (It’s understood that exceptions are made for the 730 pm Triduum times among those families with small children and infants.)  Observations of the numbers in our Resurrection liturgies in past years (pre-2020) show that the Triduum is probably not treated as in such high respect as it could be. For parishes, their clergy, staff and planners–they ought to be worried of how all of their parish will be able to fit into one Mass and church (since the Triduum offers just one gathering per night over Thursday and Friday, rather than the many Masses where the congregants are spread out on usual Sundays). Instead, we get a crowd of 125-150. That’s nice, and we’re happy for the church comers to it, but that is just a small slice of our whole membership that’s there for such a solemn night. 

Some people don’t know what they are missing—having not attended it in years, or ever. It’s only the three or four holiest days of the Church year in-a-row—that’s all!  As for the Easter Vigil, it is a liturgy twice-as-long (and some say uugghh!), but it is a special and beautiful one to those wo attend and worship. It’s a Salvation History night of review and prayer. You see some adult persons coming into Full Initiation with the Catholic Church in this Mass. 

Then, with Easter Sunday liturgy, which more persons prefer for Easter celebration (than the Vigil) members and guests to our parish are given several choices of Easter Masses. Our parish does 6 Easter Sunday Masses, with 4 at Resurrection and 2 at Riderwood.  That’s pretty good, considering only one Archdiocesan priest serves here (me!). We thank the help of Fr. Osuagwu (local religious, who’s now our Staff person at Riderwood ), Fr. Beal (our long-time weekend helper from CUA Canon Law School) and Fr. DeSiano (religious priest from the Paulists in DC, long-time helper to the parish); with their assistance, we cover about two-dozen liturgies in Holy Week here for Resurrection. Deacon Bieberich and I are grateful for the liturgy help. 

Easter Giving to a Parish

It is traditional to make generous offerings to the parish church in Holy Week.  Note: Good Friday liturgy monies all go to the annual Holy Land collection for the Franciscan missions. Note: We don’t use the collection baskets, so use the donation box for your giving upon coming in the church/chapel, or give electronically to us or by mailing it to the parish.   

The Lenten Companion Series

Thanks to those who participated in this Lent series with the booklet and videos. We had about 275 persons with the booklet, with even some people committing to a weekly in-person session or group session with me, or via email exchanges about the book/videos by Fr. Mark Toups at Ascension Press. Thanks to those who watched the daily videos which I also made and put up on our parish website for all of Lent. I enjoyed doing the programs to enhance the Lenten walk. Wednesday of Holy Week will finish the group sessions at Riderwood, 2 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. The Friday morning group sessions at Resurrection ends April 8th at 9:50am to 11:00 am in the church with a double session covering Palm Sunday and the Holy Triduum tapes and commentary. 

Now some exposition on the rich meaning and history of the Sacred Triduum… 

The Church offers us an abundance of liturgical richness in this Holy Week as we celebrate the climax of the history of salvation. Jesus is the Messianic fulfillment, so long awaited. He is announced in the ascent to Jerusalem. The Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion gets us started aright. The Passion Gospel, written for participation by all in it, sets the tone of honoring the Lord’s Passion. It is officially Holy Week, celebrating the depth of God’s Love outpoured for us. 

Then the Sacred Triduum begins in Holy Thursday’s Mass, bringing rich symbols to us for a faithful one’s appreciation. The historical background of the Triduum will be helpful here.

 Easter was originally an evening vigil of watchfulness, a celebration of the Death and Resurrection of the Lord. Over a period of time this vigil was extended to include the preparatory days of Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Eventually the fast of Easter became more and more filled with a sense of Christian initiation which included a greater awareness of the need for the Church to renew itself. This was emphasized through the admission of new members. In this development we can find the Sacred Triduum theme of oneness coming about—with the idea of the three great days (Thursday/Friday/Sunday with Vigil) being a liturgy continuing through the Last Supper to Jesus’ Rising. 

 The Triduum now was seen as a single celebration of the Lord’s Death and Resurrection. The Thursday liturgy does not officially end, but just closes after a Gethsename prayer time that night, and Friday the liturgy without Mass picks up where we last left off Thursday night, with the Calvary Sacrifice of Jesus being the Friday focus (and a Way of the Cross in the afternoon). The Third Day is Saturday near sunset time that will be the time of a first Easter Mass (the Vigil—which celebrates the Salvation Story culminating in Jesus the Risen Savior). Parishes have Easter Day Masses that joyfully reach the time past the Resurrection Event at dawn. The Sunday morn and Vigil Mass are finishing what was started in prayer on Holy Thursday. Jesus inaugurates His Sacrifice, saying “This is My Body… My Blood of the New Covenant…given up for you.” Sunday it is when Jesus shows He is risen. His body is resurrected, His Blood has saved us from sin’s penalty of separation from God. These three linked liturgies clearly suggests a unity going on—of one prayer with the three stages.  The days of the Triduum are not meant to be looked at in isolation from each other. Unfortunately most Christians still see these days in which specific moments in the life of Jesus are historically re-presented (Thurs-Fri-Sat/Sun); this most definitely is not the sense of these celebrations. They focus rather on one celebration of Christ Jesus, alive and present to us today, Who is our Atonement, our Sacrifice, our Peace, Our Sacrament Mystery in the Church, our Redemption, and our Rescue. That is why an understanding of Easter is best experienced by the Catholic manner of Holy Triduum. Easter is seen through the Cross as seen through the Last Supper, of the One Who came into Jerusalem to be the Offering, the Covenant Response of God far back to the time when Abraham with his son Isaac were on the mount, and God promised His own Son there for the perfect act of pleasing the Almighty. We celebrate the one event of the Salvific Christ Jesus as shared forth to us over a number of days, now called the Sacred Triduum. 

We have lots of Easter Masses, and the Sunday Mass of the Lord’s Resurrection is held several times with us, at the 730 Mass here, 900 Mass here, 900 Mass at Riderwood, 1030 Mass here, 1230 pm Mass here, and 200 pm Mass at Riderwood.  Many different gatherings of peoples, but the One Mystery celebrated—Jesus is Risen Indeed!

1st Cor. 15: 3-8  NRSV  For I (Paul) handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve… 6he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters… most of whom are still alive (to testify of it)… he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me (Paul)…. 11 Whether it was them or I–so we proclaim (!) and so you have come to believe….12 Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead.” 



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