Not sure about 'Triduum at Home'? Here are some CNA Holy Week suggestions

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For many Catholics, this will be the first time the days of Holy Week are spent at home. If you're not sure how to make the most of the Paschal Triduum and Easter at home, here's what some of us at CNA have planned:

Courtney Mares, Rome Correspondent

Although we cannot attend Mass, I've found solace this Holy Week in listening to the Masses composed by Mozart and other classical composers. (Here is a link to a playlist of 10 hours of Mozart's Masses on Spotify.) Of course, I will be loudly playing a recording of the "Hallelujah" chorus from Handel's Messiah on Easter morning, as is my custom. I hope my singing Italian neighbors will join in.
This year, we also have the opportunity to make virtual pilgrimages around the world via Triduum livestreams. You can tune into Holy Thursday from the Garden of Gethsemane in the Holy Land, Good Friday veneration of Christ's Crown of Thorns from Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, a Holy Saturday livestream of the Shroud of Turin, and Easter Sunday Mass and the Urbi et Orbi blessing with Pope Francis at the Vatican through EWTN online.

Mary Farrow, Features Writer

I have been riding out coronatide with my husband and my now-31-week in-utero baby. This is a Holy Week unlike one I could have ever imagined. In a Zoom meeting with young adults from my parish this week, my pastor encouraged us to focus on quality and not quantity of prayer and at-home activities this Triduum, and so we are trying to do that. We will be following along with our parish's resources. And of course having some Easter treats on Saturday night and Sunday to celebrate our Risen Lord.

Matt Hadro, Senior DC Correspondent

The biggest thing during our quasi-quarantine has been structuring our day, and for me, praying the Liturgy of the Hours has been a natural and quite helpful practice to center the day around God and pray with the rest of the church. I'll definitely continue this through the Triduum and beyond.

For the Triduum, this is what we have planned:
Holy Thursday
Livestream Mass of Our Lord's Supper
Afterwards make a holy hour at home.
Good Friday
Livestream the Good Friday liturgy from our local parish or diocesan cathedral
Pray the Stations of the Cross at home
Try to duck into an empty church that's still open
Limit screen time to watching liturgies or a movie like "The Passion."
Holy Saturday
Cook and clean to prepare our home for Easter
Live stream the Easter Vigil from our parish or diocesan cathedral, and then break the fast like champs.

Christine Rousselle, DC Correspondent

I live 538 miles away from my nearest Catholic relative, so I typically do not go home for Easter even during non-pandemic years.

Here in Virginia, where I live, I had developed a routine over the past few years: Holy Thursday liturgy and seven-church pilgrimage with the Dominican House of Studies in DC, Good Friday at my parish in Arlington followed by a fish sandwich from Popeyes, Easter Vigil somewhere in the greater DC area, and then Mass on Easter Sunday at my parish in Arlington--followed by brunch with my friends who don't celebrate Easter as they're usually the only ones still in town. 

This year, I'll be doing things a bit differently. On Thursday, instead of being with the Dominican friars, I'll be on a virtual pilgrimage with the Diocese of Arlington. Friday, I plan on watching the pre-recorded Stations of the Cross that my parish released on YouTube--and maybe getting more Popeyes' fish delivered.

I'm not yet sure what the plan is for Saturday and Sunday. I have acquired Easter best-type outfits through my Rent the Runway subscription, so I plan on still dressing up, in order to maintain some sense of normalcy.

I find it hard to pay attention to streamed Masses, so I'm probably not going to stream the Easter Vigil--but I will likely tune in to Mass on Sunday morning. Afterwards, my roommates and I are planning on making pancakes and drinking mimosas. I've purchased some Easter candy and basket stuffers to surprise them (shh!), and I'm crocheting bunnies as part of my quaren-crafting.

This will be an Easter unlike any other, but that does not mean that the festivities have to have a cloud over them. Christ still defeated death and rose from the dead, so for that, I am grateful.

JD Flynn, Editor-in-chief

We're looking forward to a quiet Triduum.

In my own prayer, I'll read the Passion narrative of John's Gospel, and probably read Genesis 22 and the book of Jonah. 

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We tell our kids a little bit about Christ's passion each night. Christmas, I've realized, is so much easier catechetically, because everyone understands birthdays.

But we've been talking about how Jesus was on the cross so that we wouldn't have to be, and how because of that, and because Jesus came off the cross, we can go to Jesus' house forever someday, and it will be great. We're not master catechists, but with three little kids who have no concept of death, let alone resurrection, we're doing our best!

I've realized through all of this that during Holy Week, the liturgies of the Church catechize well before we have an intellectual grasp of what's going on -- and more than intellectual catechesis, they imprint experiences on us. So our goal, more than anything, is to imprint formational experiences on our kids. On Holy Thursday we'll sing the Pange Lingua, which my kids love, and I'll wash everyone's feet. On Good Friday we'll make some stations of the cross, and find some ways of making the day more muted, and on the evening of Holy Saturday we'll have a bonfire in the backyard and talk about "waiting for Jesus." 

And we'll listen to the Exsultet, the Easter proclamation, because it's my favorite liturgical moment in the Church's life.

Then on Sunday, we'll eat a lot.

I don't know what my kids will remember, but it's worth a shot!

Jonah McKeown, Staff Writer/Producer

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Sarah and I are planning to get dressed up to watch the Easter Mass livestream. I'll wear a tie and she'll wear a dress, just to make it a more formal occasion as we celebrate Easter.

Carl Bunderson, Managing Editor

*Go to confession

*Breviary and Missae siccae

For a traditional (i.e. pre-'55) Holy Week, these are great resources to pray the Breviary and to pray the propers of the Masses, and Good Friday's Mass of the Presanctified:

Set the date you want, and select "Divino Afflatu" for the rubrics. This will give you the texts to pray both the Divine Office and the Mass.

Maundy Thursday Tenebrae

Good Friday Tenebrae

Holy Saturday Tenebrae

Live streams of Tenebrae and other services at the FSSP's Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish will be available here or here.

Tenebrae are traditionally anticipated the preceding evening, so Maundy Thursday's should begin at 1900 MDT on April 8.

For more information about traditional Holy Week, this includes links to a wonderful series of articles describing the rite.

If you come across a hand Missal printed before 1955, buy it.

*Listen to these Holy Week meditations by Fr James Jackson, FSSP.

*On Good Friday listen to Bach's St John Passion, Haydn's Seven Last Words of Christ, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater.

*On Holy Saturday read von Balthasar's booklet Life Out of Death.

*On Easter Sunday, eat lamb. Do not cook it too much. Listen to Bach's cantatas Christ lag in Todesbanden and Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret, and the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles' Easter at Ephesus.

*Throughout the year, support your local ethnic markets. I found this week that the nearby Polish market that I used to frequent, and where I always stocked up on kielbasa and other goodies for Easter, is no more. Now I have to search out a new Polish market.

Let this be a lesson to us all.

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