Session 15


Explanation of the Easter Triduum


This is the name we give to the three Services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil.  They can be compared to three acts of one great drama when the Paschal Mysteries are celebrated


Maundy Thursday. 

This is when we commemorate the Last Supper and is an important occasion for celebrating the institution of the Eucharist.  There is also the foot washing ceremony, reminding us that this is what Jesus did at the Last Supper. At the end of the celebration of the Eucharist, we must be prepared to go out and wash the feet of others, figuratively speaking.   At the end of the Service on Maundy Thursday, the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the tabernacle to a side chapel.


Good Friday. 

Today, we remember that Christ died on the cross for us.  The tabernacle is empty and the altar has been stripped of all the cloths.   There is no Mass today.  Instead, the Service consists of

  • Scripture readings from both Old and New Testament
  • Prayers for various peoples of the world
  • Veneration of the Cross
  • Distribution of Holy Communion, reserved from yesterday’s Mass.


Easter Vigil    (Saturday evening).  The Resurrection of the Lord.

  • Service of Light.  Fire is lit outside the Church.  New Pascal candle blessed and lit from the fire.  Priest and people enter a dark church and gradually all candles are lit from the Paschal candle.  Easter Proclamation:  Exsultet – hymn of praise.
  • Liturgy of the Word.  Readings from Old Testament reminding us of Salvation History.  The bells are rung, altar candles lit followed by New Testament  Gospel reading.
  • Liturgy of Baptism.  Litany of Saints, Blessing of Baptismal water, Rite of Baptism & Confirmation, (Reception of Baptised Christians into full communion with the Catholic Church.) Renewal of Baptismal vows by the congregation.
  • Liturgy of the Eucharist  following the usual format.  This is when the new Catholics receive Holy Communion for the first time.


The Mass of Easter Sunday is for those who have been unable to attend the Easter Vigil.