This Thursday, Friday and Saturday we observe the Paschal (Easter) Triduum-three most holy days of obligation for Christians.
It begins with Holy Thursday-observance of the Last Supper which the Lord Jesus celebrated in the Upper Room with the apostles and in doing so instituted the Holy Eucharist. This day in our churches the Eucharist is removed from the tabernaculum and in solemn procession carried to an altar of repose. Wooden clappers instead of bells are used until Holy Saturday. Nightly adoration and vigil by the faithful follow. Holy Friday begins with silence and is the single day of the year when no mass is said. This commemorates the Passion (Suffering), Crucifixion and Death of the Lord at Calvary. We listen to the Liturgy of the Word (St. Mathew's Gospel Chapter 27:32-61) describing the arrest of Jesus by the temple guards of Sanhedrin (Jewish Tribunal) in the Olive Garden-Gethsemane (hebrew for oil press). We hear the account of interrogation by Pilate and sentencing to death followed by the Way of the Cross culminating in the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus. We venerate the Cross and Communion is given. In Polish tradition an effigy of Christ's body is deposited in a central place of the sanctuary (pol. ciemnica) where it is venerated. Saturday a special vigil is held in anticipation of Christ's glorious Resurrection. Liturgy begins in a dark church interior with candlelights lit, one by one, from the Paschal candle brilliantly illuminating the most celebrated ceremony in the year-the victorious epilogue to the Greatest Story ever told. A Blessed Easter to all!
Photos show PMA Panna Maria, Tx (1st Polish USA settlement) 1867 Via Crucis oil painting series by S. Zaleski, PMA handiwork collection gold monstrance, wooden and metal Crucifixions, wooden clappers, wooden sculptures of the Pensive Christ and stained-glass Crucifixion, 1936 by Alois Sawicki NY World fair Polish pavilion.
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