By Steve DeLaney
Asst. Director of Evangelization
Our contemporary world is busy, noisy, and ceaseless, and it can be very difficult for us to find time, to make the time, to really experience our faith. To spend time with God, and each other.
The Triduum, the shortest liturgical season of the year, sits at the center of our faith as a profound invitation to experience the love and mercy of God. It is one liturgy, stretched over three days, doing in time what Jesus did with his body – stretching wide over our lives, wide enough so that we can finally experience and trust God’s love.
The Triduum is the central point, the “still point” in the center of our turning world, in the center of the bustle and joys and chaos and griefs of this life. It is one event, one experience, over three days. We need that time, and we need to allow ourselves the gift of that time, so that we can enter deeply into the mystery of the love that saves us. There is wisdom in the duration of this season — three days and lengthy liturgies. It takes time to heal, to grow, and to be transformed. These things cannot be rushed. Against our busy and hurried world, the Triduum invites us into three days of meditation and prayer.
The Triduum begins on Holy Thursday. Lent ends with the opening prayers of the Holy Thursday Mass. We celebrate the institution of the Eucharist, and we wash feet, as Jesus did. At the end of Holy Thursday, the Eucharist is removed from the church, and we process out into the Commons for Adoration and Evening Prayer. There are not the usual closing prayers for Mass, as a way of reminding us that the liturgy continues the next day.
On Good Friday, the priest enters and lays prostrate before the cross, in silence. That is how we begin, carrying on with our prayer from the night before. The Eucharist is not celebrated on Good Friday, though we receive communion reserved from the Holy Thursday Mass. We read the Passion, and we come forward to venerate the Cross. And we leave in silence.
That silence carries us into Saturday evening, the Easter Vigil. The darkness of death is broken by the light of the fire and the Paschal candle. The silence of grief is pierced by the songs of the Resurrection. New members of the body of Christ are baptized and confirmed, and we gather again around the table to receive the bread of life—the promise of resurrection.
The Triduum is the most profound celebration of the mystery of our faith. It is the sacred time that can change how we live in the rest of time. It is, as the Catechism states, the “source of light… [that] fills the whole liturgical year with its brilliance. Gradually, on either side of this source, the year is transfigured by the liturgy.”
We encourage you to, as much as you can, to allow yourself to experience the Triduum this year.
Holy Week at ICC
Palm Sunday - Sun, Mar 20
8:30 a.m. & 11:00 a.m. Mass
5:30 p.m. Vigil Mass (Sat, Mar 19)
Holy Thursday - Thurs, Mar 24
7:00 p.m. Mass
Adoration and Night Prayer to follow immediately
Good Friday - Fri, Mar 25
7:00 p.m. Service
Easter Vigil - Sat, Mar 26
8:00 p.m. Vigil Mass
Easter Sunday - Sun, Mar 27
8:30 a.m. Mass & 11:00 a.m. Mass