Holy Week 2013: The Triduum



By: Fr. Mike Phillippino
Palm Sunday

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.


Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
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.

The Glory of Christ Crucified
The Cross of Christ brings His glorious grace into the focus of contemplation. It is a difficult mystery to dwell on. The heart sometimes finds itself weary and sometimes even too discouraged to fix its gaze on the agony of the Lord. This is where frequent confession and humble examination of conscience can help the practice of mental prayer – which is a humbled gaze of the heart on the mercy of God.
Oftentimes, it is not the big sins that discourage prayer. When sin is obvious, the torment of being separated from God moves the prayerful soul to seek Him. Venial sins, however, do not always elicit our readiness for conversion.

The Homily of Pope Francis at the Inauguration of His Papal Ministry
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church. It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude

Vatican releases Pope Francis’ coat of arms, motto and ring
The Vatican said that neither his papal ring nor his coat of arms will be ornate. The coat of arms is the same one he used archbishop of Buenos Aires, with the addition of the papal symbols of a bishops’ miter and gold and silver-crossed keys.

A gold star representing the Virgin Mary, and the nardo, a grape-like plant with which St Joseph is often represented, are painted on a bright blue background. Above them is the emblem of Francis’ Jesuit order. Together the three represent Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Spiritual poverty threatens world peace, Pope states
Pope Francis invited the diplomats accredited to the Holy See to join him in fighting both material and spiritual poverty, which both contribute to the lack of peace in the world.

“Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up,” Pope Francis said March 22.

The Pope met this morning in the Regia Hall of the Apostolic Palace with representatives from the more than 180 countries, sovereign orders and international organizations that have formal relations with the Vatican.

10 South American Saints Every Catholic Should Know
In honor of our new Holy Father from Argentina, Pope Francis, the following is a list of 10 South American saints every Catholic should know. I have often remarked that South America seems to be a continent that is never talked about much, and the same seems to have gone for many of its saints. Aside from one or two, many of these saints are new to me as well.

A quick note – some might notice that such saints as St. Francis Solanus and St. Peter Claver are missing. This is because I only chose saints and blesseds who were born in South America, excluding major evangelizing saints from other countries who had a tremendous effect on the countries there (St. Peter Claver and St. Francis of Solano were both from Spain, for example)

Baptism and Prophecy
In addition to sharing in Christ’s priesthood in baptism, the Catechism also tells us that we share in Christ’s prophetic office. The purpose of a Prophet (and hence Christ’s Office of Prophet) is something that is frequently misunderstood within Christianity today. The average answer will be that a prophet is essentially a divine fortune teller revealing the future (often in an incredibly cryptic fashion) or in the mold of a fire from heaven executor of God’s justice, such as in the case of the Prophet Elijah or in the Ten Plagues inflicted on Egypt. While these stories make for great entertainment, they miss the point of a prophet in the Biblical sense.

Return to Popular Piety, Faithful Families
Popular Catholic devotions once filled churches and were always part of one’s faith life in the course of the week.
People prayed the Rosary regularly, attended novenas, did consecrations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, venerated sacred images and relics and wore religious medals or a crucifix.
Much of that has waned in the last 40 years.
But this Year of Faith presents Catholics with the perfect time to bring back the popular piety and devotions that were never meant to be forgotten or ignored.

The Anatomy of a Sin as set forth in a lesser known Biblical passage.
The first reading from today’s Mass is an extraordinary moral tale from the Book of Daniel. It is the story of Susanna. The full passage (which is quite lengthy) can be found here: Daniel 13:1-62. Interestingly it is missing from Protestant Bibles which use a truncated version of the Book of Daniel. As such it is a lesser known passage, even among Catholics since it is only read on a weekday Mass once a year.

5 Habits That Are Hazardous To Your (Spiritual) Health
Although Lent is winding to a close, there is still plenty of time to work on the many bad habits that hurt our relationship with the Lord. If you were to make even the smallest progress overcoming one of your bad habits, then your Lent would be a success. While God never expects us to overcome our imperfections by ourselves, He does expect us to take the first step and try to fight against these tendencies. Here are 5 bad habits that, if not controlled, will keep you from growing closer to Christ. Are they the worst ones in the world? Maybe or maybe not, but every one of these tendencies will keep you from being the best Catholic you can be.

Yes, Hell is real.
Arguably, the greatest problem that Christianity faces today is the prevalent disbelief in Hell and the seriousness of sin. St. Augustine of Hippo, a Doctor of the Church, put it this way:

“Now eternal punishment seems hard and unjust to human senses for the reason that in this [our] infirmity of dying senses there is lacking that sense of the highest and purest wisdom, [that] whereby it can be felt what a great outrage was committed in that first prevarication.”
St. Robert Bellarmine, another Doctor of the Church, summarized the problem even more succinctly in his Sermon on Hell (delivered at Louvain University, Belgium, in approximately 1574):

“If we truly understood the gravity of the fault, we would scarcely entertain any doubt as to the bitterness of the penalty.”

The Twelve Steps up the Mountain of Pride According to St. Bernard of Clairvaux
So you think the idea of the 12 Steps is new. Well, if you think you’ve got a new idea, go back and see how the Greeks put it, or in this case how the Medieval Latins put it. St. Bernard of Clairvaux identified twelve steps up the mountain of pride. These are detailed in a work by him entitled Steps of Humility and Pride.
In today’s post we focus on the Twelve Steps of Pride. Tomorrow, on the Twelve Steps of Humility (from St Benedict’s rule). Here I list the 12 Steps of Pride only briefly and give a brief commentary on each which is mine, so don’t blame St. Bernard. Again, the list is his. The inferior comments are mine.

12 More Steps: Out of Pride and into Humility, from St. Bernard.
In yesterday’s Post we considered the 12 Steps of Pride set forth by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. In escalating ways, the 12 twelve steps draw us up to an increasingly mountainous and enslaving pride.
St. Bernard also lists the 12 steps to deeper humility (I am using the list from Vultus Dei HERE) and it is these that we consider in this post. As with yesterday’s post, the list by St. Bernard is in red, but the commentary on each step are my own poor reflections. Take what you like and leave the rest. For St. Bernard’s own reflections, consider purchasing the book he wrote: Steps of Humility and Pride.

The Dorothy Day Few of Us Know
She lamented the encroachment of the state and the perils of the welfare system. She once compared abortion to genocide and the U.S. government to Nazi Germany. She cheered on income tax resisters, dismissed the benefits of the minimum wage, and worried about the decline of freedom in an increasingly bureaucratic society.
But this was no Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann.
It was Dorothy Day, the heroine of the Catholic Left who walked a picket line with Cesar Chavez, was a civil rights advocate and anti-nuclear weapons activist, and made no secret of her contempt for capitalism, consumerism, and corporations.

Your Must Read Post of the Day: Heather King on Pope Francis, Mercy, and Sex
I’ve shared the thoughts of Heather King in this space a time or two. Unlike me though, Heather is a gifted writer, and one who actually tossed everything from her former life away in order to pursue her writing vocation. Her conversion story is an inspiring example of God’s mercy at work.
The upshot? If you aren’t reading her blog Shirt of Flame, you should be. Consider her post on Pope Francis today as Exhibit A in the case to convince you to read her blog (and her books!).

The Jewish Roots of Palm Sunday and the Passion
On this coming Sunday, the Church will bring us to what may be one of my favorite Masses and my favorite sets of Scripture readings in the entire liturgical year: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, popularly known simply as ‘Palm Sunday’.

With the Palm Sunday readings, the Church ushers us into the climax of the liturgical year in the celebration of Holy Week. This is the last Sunday feast before the beginning of the Triduum, which will climax in the celebration of Easter (Latin Pascha), what the Catechism calls the “feast of feasts” (CCC 1169).

Benedict XVI and Francis’ Historic Lunch
“No one knows what protocol to follow as there are no precedents,” the Curia explains. Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who works closely with both these men dressed in white will definitely play a key role in this historic event. Tomorrow’s lunch will be a sort of handover of power that has not been witnessed in the whole of Christianity’s two thousand-year old history. It is also impossible to know what the two will talk about given the context which brought them together and united them (but has also divided them) for at least eight years: Bergoglio was Ratzinger’s main rival in the 2005 Conclave which elected Benedict XVI. But Ratzinger’s resignation and replacement by the very man who was once his “rival” in the race for the papacy, is a real turning point in terms of Church government. “Benedict XVI and Francis are intensely in sync: both a deeply spiritual figures, whose relationship with life is completely rooted in God,” Jesuit fortnightly journal Civiltà Cattolica stressed.


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