The Armchair Liturgist: Triduum for Parish Clusters

Many parishes around the world share one priest. What’s a liturgist to do for the Triduum? A person from nearby Kansas gains the attention of Zenit’s Liturgy priest, Father Edward McNamara with this query:

If a priest is pastor of more than one parish church and divides up the celebration of the Easter Triduum among these parishes, should he, for the liturgical action on Good Friday, consecrate extra hosts on Palm Sunday at the church where the Good Friday liturgical action is celebrated? Or should he transport extra hosts for the liturgical action in his car from the church where he celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper? Would it be permitted to allow the faithful to venerate the cross on Good Friday after the Stations of the Cross celebrated at a time and church distinct from the primary liturgical action of Good Friday? Would this veneration as devotion, not as liturgical rite, be inadvisable because it could confuse people?

Sit in the purple chair and make a decision. Or go to this week’s liturgy page and see what one expert advised. Your own decisions and commentary on Father McNamara’s are welcome.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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6 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Triduum for Parish Clusters

  1. Well, we’re not going to be in compliance with Fr. McNamara’s advice: we will have Holy Thursday and reposition at the south parish; Good Friday will be commemorated at both. And I was going to bring the Blessed Sacrament from one parish to the other.

    Having two Masses of the Lord’s Supper strikes me as a very impractical idea, unless I decide that one will be rather minimal.

    I’m not defending what we decided to do; we had to decide, and when I consulted with our worship office, my plan was endorsed; lacking other direction, we went ahead.

  2. Todd says:

    Fr Fox, I confess I found McNamara’s reasoning a bit thin. I didn’t even catch the sense that HT and GF needed to be in the same place, and I’ve read that directive many times.

    The cluster I worked in adopted one of the Triduum liturgies for each parish, and it rotated.

  3. We decided that the Vigil should be at the parish having more elect to be baptized, since being baptized at your own parish is very desirable. Then, the other parish gets the Holy Thursday. (And in the event both have same number being baptized? Flip a coin, or whatever.)

    For Good Friday, as one parish had had two services, the other one (daytime), we decided to keep the daytime at that latter parish, and just have the evening one at the other. I wouldn’t have a problem doing but one Good Friday liturgy, but not right away. I have help, so it’s not urgent for me.

    One day, I expect a third parish, and at that point, it’ll all have to be re-thought. But that parish church is very small, in comparison to these other two, so I’m not sure what that will look like. Several years away, if ever, God willing.

  4. Liam says:

    Well, my own view is that transporting the Sacrament in bulk by car is *way* too risky (you see, I am one of those people who keeps realizing that it’s a miracle we don’t have more car accidents…). So I would view the rubric regarding the emptying of the tabernacle to be the one *much* more appropriate to be fudged first.

    So, given

    Church A: site of Holy Thursday
    Church B: site of Good Friday
    Church C: site of Easter Vigil

    In Church A, you do Holy Thursday as you normally would, except that you return the Blessed Sacrament to the main tabernacle at the end of private adoration by midnight.

    In Church B, you preconsecrate extra hosts at the most recent Mass in Church B before Good Friday (have a private Mass to do so if that is easier). Leave them in the tabernacle after that, but prepare a suitable and formal place of temporary reservation in the sacristy. When Church B is opened on Good Friday, move the reserved hosts from the tabernacle to the sacristy.

    In Church C, there should be no issue. There is no need to empty the tabernacle where the liturgies of the prior two days are not being celebrated. The emptying of the tabernacle is with a view towards the public liturgies of those days.

    Any thoughts on this approach? I think it raises far fewer issues than transporting the Sacrament.

  5. Mary White says:

    Don’t have a reply, but I question. I Live in mid coast Maine, and my parish is one of three in a very large cluster. (about 900 square miles, but very rural) We have been told that all 3 of the Triduum services have to be held in the same church. From what I have been reading, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Could it be a decision of the diocese involved? I am more curious than anything, but also feeling sad that I cannot attend Holy Week services due to transportation issues. Thank-you.

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