The term “triduum” means “three days,” and refers to any three-day observance. Technically, the triduum during Holy Week is known as the “Paschal Triduum.”
The word Paschal, which is used to refer to Easter, comes from the Greek word “pascha,” which comes from the Hebrew word “pesach” which means Passover. Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection, which is connected theologically to the Passover feast, is referred to as the Paschal mystery.
Ok, so what happens on Holy Thursday?
On the evening of Holy Thursday, the Church celebrates the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which commemorates Christ’s Passover meal with his apostles the night before he died. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper most especially remembers the institution of the Eucharist- the sacramental gift to the Church of Christ’s Body and Blood, given in the transformation of bread and wine.
Often, at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the priest washes the feet of some members of the congregation, recalling Christ’s washing of feet at the Last Supper. “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do,” Christ told his apostles.
Why is it called “Maundy Thursday?”
Holy Thursday is sometimes called “Maundy Thursday.” The word “maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandatum,” which means mandate.
On Maundy Thursday, Christ gave us a mandate: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
Is Holy Thursday a holy day of obligation?
No. And people may not be able to attend the Mass of the Lord’s Supper for a variety of reasons: their family needs or work schedule, or health. But it’s a beautiful Mass. You should go if you can!
So is there Mass again on Good Friday?
Nope. There’s no Mass on Good Friday.
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In fact, after Mass on Holy Thursday, the altar is stripped of its cloth. Crosses are removed from the Church or covered. No candles burn in the Church.
The Blessed Sacrament is not reposed in the Church’s tabernacle, but in another small chapel.
On Good Friday, the Church is empty of many of its symbols. It is adorned like a Church in mourning. And, at 3:00 pm, the Church offers the “Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.”
At this celebration, Scripture is read that recounts the prophetic anticipation of Christ’s passion, and recounts the passion narrative itself. Communion is distributed. Believers are invited to venerate the cross, to come forward and kiss or reverence a cross.
“Behold the wood of the Cross,” the priest proclaims.
I know that Good Friday is a solemn day, but what should we do all day?