The Triduum is its own short liturgical season. Lent officially ends before the Mass of the Lord's Supper, held in the evening on Holy Thursday. The Triduum begins then and goes through the Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday. It is three days - beginning on April 2nd this year - when the Church tells the story of Jesus's last days, his death and his rising from the dead.
During Mass on Holy Thursday, we get a peek into what it was like at the Last Supper, when Jesus said goodbye to his apostles. He teaches them to eat bread and drink wine in memory of him, and he tells them that the bread and wine will be his body and blood. Jesus also washes the apostles' feet at the Last Supper, showing them how much he loved them and how they should serve others
. The washing of the feet often occurs during this Mass.
On Good Friday, we read the Gospel that describes how Jesus carried the cross, suffering and dying for our sins. This is called the Passion. We offer prayers for people in our community and our world during this service. We also show our respect to, and love for, the cross and Jesus' sacrifice. Some people kiss the cross, some people kneel in front of it, and some people touch it. Good Friday services are very serious and quiet; we think about the big sacrifice that God made by sending his Son to die for us.
Holy Saturday is a day of waiting. Jesus is in the tomb. The apostles are hiding, afraid. We wait with prayer and hope, knowing that Jesus will leave the tomb on Easter, and that he will come again someday. Some people attend the Easter Vigil, a beautiful service that begins after dark and includes lots of readings and songs. We light a new candle at the Easter Vigil, symbolizing Jesus as the Light of the World. The people who are joining the Catholic Church are baptized at the Easter Vigil. And for the first time since Lent began, we say "Alleluia" again!
Some people think that Christmas is the most important day of the year. But that's just the beginning of everthing, with Jesus' birth. The biggest day of the year for Christians is Easter! Easter Sunday is a day of joy. At Mass we read about how Jesus rose from the dead. Bells ring out, Easter lilies bloom, families share meals, and we sing "Alleluia", which means "Praise God!" We are very happy that Jesus' death has made it possible for us to enter heaven.