Paschal Triduum

April 8, 2009

Tomorrow begins the Paschal Triduum – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. These are the days leading up to Easter Sunday, and they’re pretty much the most important days of the year to Catholics – on Thursday you remember the Last Supper, on Friday the Crucifixion, and at Easter Vigil on Saturday night, the Resurrection.

What I find interesting is how you don’t have mass on Friday. You have Mass on Thursday – and it’s the one where you get to do the Gospel-reading-as-play, with the congregation taking the part of all the groups of people in the narrative – and on Saturday night you have Easter Vigil Mass, with its candle-lighting, several readings from all sorts of Old Testament books, baptisms, etc. But on Friday there’s no Mass celebrated, anywhere. It’s the day Jesus died, I guess, and so it would be inappropriate to celebrate his resurrection.

Or something like that. I confess I don’t understand it completely myself. But these are three of my favorite days of the year, because even if I don’t fully understand everything Catholicism has to say, I understand enough of it, and besides, the liturgies for these days are simply awe-inspiring. I wouldn’t like to have a four-hour-long mass every Sunday, but the Easter Vigil mass can be as long as it likes and I really won’t mind. It ought to be a marathon. It just seems appropriate.

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