Dear Christ the Redeemer family,
Now that we are in Holy Week, I wanted to send a note regarding orienting us to the Triduum and a few practical details regarding Easter Sunday. Below are the short summary descriptions of the Triduum as given by our province, with a few other comments from me.
The Paschal mystery is the heart of the Christian Gospel. Maundy Thursday begins the Triduum (the sacred three days). The services for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and The Great Vigil of the Resurrection form a single liturgy in three parts; thus, the final blessing and dismissal is reserved for the conclusion of the Great Vigil.
This year we will be honored to have Bishop Bill with us as our preacher for the three evenings of the Triduum (each one beginning at 7.30 pm).
Maundy Thursday receives its name from the mandatum (commandment) given by our Lord: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34). At the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and commanded them to love and serve one another as he had done. This day commemorates the Lord’s example of servant ministry, the institution of the Eucharist, the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal leading to the crucifixion.
The great word of this evening is “love one another”, and hence the definitive act of this service is the foot-washing.
The Good Friday liturgy is the second part of the Triduum. This most solemn of all days is appropriately marked by fasting, abstinence, and penitence, leading us to focus on Jesus and the meaning of his cross. Some churches do not use musical instruments or bells on this day. The church is often darkened. The bare, stark appearance of the church serves as a reminder of the solemnity and the sorrow of the day. The Lord of Life was rejected, mocked, scourged, and then put to death on the cross. The faithful are reminded of the role which their own sin played in this suffering and agony, as Christ took all sin upon himself, in obedience to his Father’s will. By the cross we are redeemed, set free from bondage to sin and death. The cross is a sign of God’s never-ending love for us. It is a sign of life, in the midst of death.
As our Lord’s sacrifice of himself is the great focus of this evening, hence the definitive act of this service is the veneration of the Cross.
The Great Vigil
The Great Vigil, when observed, is the first liturgy of Easter Day. It is celebrated at a convenient time between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter morning. It is appropriate that the service begin in darkness.
The liturgy normally consists of four parts:
- The Service of Light: a new fire is kindled, and from it the Paschal Candle is lit, symbolizing Christ, the light of the world. The Exsultet, an ancient song of praise, is sung or said as the climax of this part of the liturgy.
- The Service of Lessons: key passages from Scripture recount the history of God’s mighty acts and promises. These readings are accompanied by Psalms, Canticles, and prayers.
- Holy Baptism is the sacrament through which candidates are united to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3-4), which the Church celebrates on this most holy night. When the Bishop is present, confirmation may also be administered. If there are no candidates for baptism or confirmation, the congregation joins in a Renewal of Baptismal Vows.
- The Holy Eucharist is the proper culmination of the Easter Liturgy. As we keep this holy feast, we share the joy of our Savior’s triumph and are strengthened by his grace to walk in newness of life.
This is the height of the whole year and as such features more than one definitive moment. This year we are looking forward to baptisms and confirmations.
On Easter Sunday we will have one great Festival Day service at 10 a.m. This is usually quite a crowd, so if possible please park on the street (on the church side of the street it is legal, but not across from the church on the other side ). It’s a great day to invite friends to come with you to church or to meet you there, and be ready to give a warm welcome to visitors.
Bless you all this Holy Week, and may Jesus Christ be praised,