The Triduum

Once referred to as the “still days,” the Triduum marks the three-day period from Maundy Thursday to Holy Saturday. The services of those three days are actually three parts of one long service, culminating in the Great Vigil of Easter.

On Thursday, we are blessed with the opportunity to partake of the Sacrament one last time before the altar is stripped in preparation of the solemn services of Good Friday.

On Friday, we enter the now-bare sanctuary, to hear the words of our Lord’s suffering and death, and hear the Bible slammed shut as we ponder Him giving up His Spirit for us.

On Saturday, is the agonizing wait, as we hold our breaths throughout Jesus’s rest in the tomb.¬†And then the Great Vigil, in which the Light is brought back, and the first glimpse of the opening tomb is observed.

The Paschal Triduum marks the highest and holiest point of the church year. From Thursday through Saturday, we walk with Jesus from the Upper Room to Gethsemane to the trial, and finally to Golgotha. We watch as His body is placed in the tomb, and we weep with his mother and disciples. But we know the Story doesn’t end there, and we wait, with all the company of heaven, holding our breath, and waiting for that glorious festival on Easter Sunday…


During Holy Week, it feels as if the Church is holding her breath. Even though the events of that week are not happening anew, it’s almost as though we can feel the same heartbreak, confusion, despair and sadness that Christ’s disciples felt. Even though we know how it all turns out, it’s as though we are waiting with anticipation to see if God had been defeated on Calvary, or if there is more to the story that we just can’t understand yet.

Even as we wait throughout Advent, we wait that much more in Lent, especially during Holy Week, and especially during the Holy Triduum. We wait, we watch, we weep, knowing full well the joy that Sunday will bring, and yet still, for today, feeling the pain of the cross.