By: Fr. Mike Phillippino
March 24, 2013
The Easter Triduum, which celebrates the Paschal Mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus, begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with evening prayer on Easter Sunday. The Easter Triduum is a unified liturgical event which takes place over the course of three days. Therefore, ideally, the three liturgies are to be celebrated in the same location. The people are encouraged to attend the Triduum in its entirety. Smaller parishes are encouraged to join together for the Triduum, in one church able to accommodate the total number of faithful. Where a pastor has a responsibility for two or more parishes in which the faithful gather in large numbers, and where the celebrations can be carried out with requisite care and solemnity, the celebrations of the Triduum may be repeated (Circular Letter, 1998).
Holy Thursday – Mass of the Lord’s Supper (March 28): “The Missal’s opening antiphon gives us a clue as to the atmosphere of this Mass, as well as to the meaning of the whole Triduum: “We should glory in the cross…” Lent is now over, and we begin the joyful celebration of the Triduum…The mood this evening is one of joy (e.g. white vestments) even though this joy will only be fully experienced and expressed during the Easter Vigil (L. Johnson, The Three Days: A Liturgical Guide, p. 24).”
Good Friday – Celebration of the Lord’s Passion (March 29): On this day, in accordance with ancient tradition, the Church does not celebrate the Eucharist. Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful during the celebration of the Lord’s Passion only, though it may be brought to the sick at any time of the day. Only one Cross is used for veneration, as this contributes to the full symbolism of the rite. The Cross is presented to each of the faithful individually, since personal veneration of the Cross is a most important feature in the celebration. After the celebration the altar is stripped, but the Cross remains with four candles.
Holy Saturday (March 30): On Holy Saturday the Church abstains strictly from the celebration of Mass. Holy Communion may be given only in the form of Viaticum. The celebration of marriages in forbidden, as well as the other sacraments, except Penance and Anointing of the Sick. Liturgical regulations require that no parish has any other Mass in celebration of Easter before the Easter Vigil or in place of the Easter Vigil. By its very nature, the Vigil takes place at night. It begins and ends in darkness. The Vigil is not begun before nightfall and should end before daybreak on Easter Sunday. In 2013, the Easter Vigil may begin at 8:00 PM or later, but not before. A Vigil beginning at midnight is permissible, as is an early Sunday morning Vigil planned to end before dawn.
Easter Sunday (March 31): “How beautiful is the Paschal celebration. Beautiful too is the present assembly. The mysteries contain so much that is both old and new…It is not just those on earth who rejoice, but also the powers above who join our activities and celebrate with us because of the resurrection of Christ…The earth celebrates the feast…the sea celebrates…let every person celebrate, born again of water and the Holy Spirit” (Proclus of Constantinople [d.446], cited in The Three Days, p. 188). At all Masses, the creed may be replaced by the renewal of Baptismal promises. The double Alleluia is added to all forms of dismissal. This is done through the celebration of the Second Sunday of Easter, and on the feast of Pentecost.
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March 24, 2013
What is your gift? The Lord has need of it. | Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Today our celebration of Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion begins the great feast of Holy Week – the most sacred week of our Church year. At first glance, today can seem like an odd feast, a conflicted one. Some might remember that before the Second Vatican Council, Palm Sunday was observed one week before Passion Sunday giving people time to savor the echoes of “Hosanna!” from Palm Sunday for a whole week before they are confronted with the bitter cries “Crucify Him!” on Passion Sunday.
Passion Sunday – Palm Sunday
Passion Sunday — The Sunday before Easter is observed by virtually all Christians — Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox — as Palm Sunday. But for the Roman Catholic Church it is also Passion Sunday during which all stand for readings and meditations from the passion account from one of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, or Luke). For all Christian Church traditions the feast has a bittersweet taste. Though it celebrates the King’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the parade leads straight to the Lord Jesus’ suffering and death on Calvary.
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
The gospel for this Sunday is Luke’s version of the passion and death of Jesus. It begins with the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist and then continues with the betrayal, the trials before Caiphas and Pilate, and ends with the crucifixion. We recognize this account as the climax of the mission of Jesus and yet it is almost too much to comprehend. Moreover, the homily will need to be short in view of the blessing of palms and the length of the gospel; hence the need to look for the essential kernel of this story.