Triduum Stories


Other affairs overrode blogging the past few days. I know you understood.

I’ve found that it’s good for me to take notes immediately after each of the Triduum liturgies, and put to-do’s on my list for next year. I usually take a few days off after Easter to rest and recover. If I can take those notes on Thursday night while adoration is on, plus Holy Saturday morning, and then during one of the Easter Masses, I’ll be in good shape for next year.

Some of my tasks: better communication with the music leaders for Holy Thursday and Good Friday next year. I’m going to need two teams of hospitality for Easter morning Masses. We actually outdrew Parent’s Weekend at 10:30 yesterday morning. We had to use every chair in the student lounge and in the storeroom. Likely we had close to 1,000 people in a church that seats 790.

I was curious to see how our new processional cross insert would affect veneration. People still did as they had in previous years, nearly always venerate the “wood” of the cross. Our pastor invited people to venerate on three sides as they came to the narthex, but the first worshipers went to all four sides of the cross–and that worked.

Easter Vigil did not have the small bumps the other liturgies had. We were just four minutes short of three hours. The pace was just right. I got to play a Vigil for the first time in eleven years. The parish has long used an Exsultet setting by Everett Frese, a priest of our diocese. I can’t say it impressed me the last two years. I’ve always used (and prefer) the plainsong setting in the Sacramentary. I didn’t have much time to learn the accompaniment–it wasn’t as smooth as I would have hoped. It sort of grew on me. We reexamined psalms last year, and service music during initiation this year. Maybe next year is a good time to look at the Exsultet. New words and all for 2012, so either way we’ll need to change up what we’ve got.

I found myself filled with a sense of gratitude during the Vigil, especially as the Liturgy of the Word continued on. About half the pews emptied for the liturgy of baptism–that was nearly as moving as the flawless effort by two young men coordinating the Vigil. That’s been my role for the past decade. No doubt I’ll stay off that role next year and thereafter. I may know the Vigil better than anyone in the parish, but attention to detail is not my thing. We were working on the new Paschal candle in the basement Saturday morning, getting a good fitting for the stand. It wasn’t until 8:50 that night that I realized it was still in the storeroom–when it was nowhere to be found in the sacristy.

Any good Triduum stories from your weekend?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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7 Responses to Triduum Stories

  1. Liam says:

    Shh, don’t tell the fire marshal…

  2. Randolph Nichols says:

    Our Vigils tend to run three hours as well, which stretches the behavioral limits of boys in the choir. Although the men in the schola have been instructed to take disciplinary action when needed, this is the first year I actually did. One of the lads, attired like an angel in cassock and surplice, was seeing just how close he could hold his lighted candle to his printed program.

    Other than that heart stopper, it was a great night.

  3. Thom sfo says:

    I managed to bank the thurible on a pew during the procession to the Altar of Repose. Yay me. Other than that, things were swell.

  4. Thom sfo says:

    *bang the thurible

  5. On Good Friday at my parish in St. Louis, the tornado sirens went off just as we were finishing the reading of the Passion. We evacuated everyone into the school hallway (the lower level cafeteria had too many windows, and we had concerns about getting all our elderly down the stairs). After about 15 minutes of chaos and anxiety, we sang a short ostinato to get everybody refocused, and resumed the service with the Veneration of the Cross. The clergy and the servers actually brought the cross to the people down the hallway. We then did the General Intercessions (yeah, the whole thing was out of order), and by the time we finished those, the tornado warning expired and we returned to the church for the communion procession.

    It’s one Good Friday service none of us will ever forget. I might post a couple of the videos to YouTube sometime.

  6. Gerry Jones says:

    Federal Way, WA, My husband (the deacon) was carrying the Easter candle back to the Baptismal font on Easter morning. He struggled trying to get it in the holder. Eventually, it went in splashing wax all over his head and hands.

  7. FrMichael says:


    Same thing happened to me as a deacon. At least I had a lot of hair in those days… the wax would probably cause first degree burns on my scalp nowadays!

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