St Patrick's Parish Guildford

The Easter Triduum


The Easter Triduum takes its meaning from the Latin word for three.  The Easter Triduum celebrates three events in the life of Jesus - the Last Supper, Jesus dying on the cross and his rising from the dead. These events are not separated - they form one long day.

The Easter, or Paschal Triduum is a separate season during what is often called "Holy Week". The Triduum opens with the Mass of the Lord's Supper and concludes at Easter. 

The Triduum is the heart and soul of our Christian faith, the summit of the Liturgical Year commenorating the triumph of God's love over darkness and death.  It is the fullest ritual expression of what it means to be Christian.

The liturgical services that take place during the Triduum are:

Mass of the Lord's Supper - no concluding rite

Good Friday of the Lord's Passion - no introductory rite; no concluding rite

Easter Vigil:  Celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord - no introductory rite; there is a concluding rite -


alleluia, alleluia!

Each of the liturgies, while having their own emphasis, celebrates the entire mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. 

Easter Vigil - Celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord

This liturgy has its roots in the Hebrew Scriptures - the night the Israelites stayed awake waiting for the Lord to deliver them from slavery in Egypt.  We gather as a community to re-tell the stories of our salvation and are strengthened as we remember what God has done for us, in and through Jesus, and so we can celebrate and believe.

The liturgy has four parts [no introductory rite]:

1. The Service of Light - the fire is lit, the Easter candle is lit from the fire and  blessed; the procession into the darkened church - candles are lit from the Paschal Candle as it is carried into the darkened church, the Easter Proclamation [Exsultet]

2. Liturgy of the Word - readings from the Hebrew Scriptures [Old Testament]. There are seven readings. Generally, not all are used.  The third reading, from Exodus, is obligatory.

3. Liturgy of Baptism - after the homily, baptism and reception into full communion takes place, followed by Confirmation.

4. Liturgy of the Eucharist

There is a concluding rite:- Go....alleluia, alleluia

Response:  Thanks be to God, Alleluia Alleluia





Palm Sunday   falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates  Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four Gospels

Holy Thursday - Mass of the Lord's Supper

We celebrate the triumph of God's love accomplished by the cross of Jesus.  Life is born from death.  Jesus transformed the Jewish Passover meal into the memorial of his death and resurrection. Jesus is the new Passover, the Way to new life in the kingdom of our loving God. As Jesus surrended his life for the sake of the world, we, too, as his disciples are called to the same.


The primary symbols of Holy Thursday are the washing of the feet and the sharing of Eucharist.


These symbols embody the themes of service, priesthood and unity.

Good Friday -
Celebration of the Passion of the Lord


The Good Friday liturgy is the second ritual step on the Triduum journey.  It is not a time of mourning, rather it is a time of remembering of seeing once again the infinite love of God in the self-sacrificing of his own Son on a cross - we remember, we celebrate, we believe.

Liturgy of the Word:  with solemn proclamation of the Passion according to John

Solemn Intercessions

Veneration of the Cross: primary symbol of the liturgy - a sign of victory and salvation

Behold the wood of the cross on which hung the salvation of the world.  Come let us adore.

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