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Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: April 15, 2019
The word, "triduum" (TRIH-du-um) comes from the Latin word meaning, "three days." The Easter Triduum celebrates the three days of Christ's passion, death and resurrection, the most sacred time of the liturgical year. It begins at sundown on Holy Thursday, reaches its high point at the Easter Vigil, and concludes with evening prayer at sundown on Easter Sunday. It is also known as the Sacred Triduum or Paschal Triduum.
The liturgical celebrations of the Easter Triduum are rich in symbolism and flow from one to the other in a seamless way. They are "one day unfolding for us the unity of Christ's Paschal Mystery," according to the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops. "It is known as the "Paschal Mystery" because it is the ultimate fulfillment of the ancient Jewish Passover (or Pasch), which itself was a recollection of how God brought the Jews out of their slavery in Egypt," explains Gretchen Filz of GetFed.
"The spotless lamb was slaughtered at the Passover meal and consumed, and that night the destroying angel 'passed over' the homes marked with the blood of the Passover lamb, and those covered by the blood were saved. This was the Old Testament prefigurement of Jesus' work at the Last Supper where he inserted himself as the Paschal Lamb and Calvary, where the sacrifice was offered to save us from our slavery to sin. With the holy Eucharist, we consume the victim that died for our sins."
Catholics are encouraged to participate in all three days of triduum. For details about each day of the triduum, read Bishop Anthony B. Taylor's homilies about Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday. Bishop Taylor will celebrate Easter Triduum at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock. This includes the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, April 18, at 6:30 p.m.; the Good Friday Passion of the Lord, April 19, at noon; and the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday, April 20, at 8 p.m.
For more information, see Our Sunday Visitor's extensive Guide to Holy Week, which offers Holy Week traditions, the origins of coloring Easter eggs, why we decorate with Easter lilies and bless Easter baskets. To teach your children about this celebration, see Triduum Family Activities or go to this list of resources from the Catholic Toolbox blog.