The Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday – comes between Lent and Easter. We didn’t have much luck getting to Mass this year for the optional Lenten feasts, and even missed Palm Sunday due to illness. I think Siena really would have enjoyed some of the sacramentals this year, had things worked out better. Here are some phone pics from last year on Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday.
(Oh, and I’m having the pictures post as thumbnails since there are so many, but you can always click on them to see a larger version.)
We did manage to participate in the parish’s Lenten Soup Suppers both last year and this year. Both years she happily went to various kind women who offered to hold her so we could eat. This year she actually got to eat some soup too!
Here’s the story of our Triduum. I just learned about the Holy Week tradition of Easter cleaning, but I think we’ll add that next year.
Holy Thursday was one of my favorite days of the liturgical calendar when I was growing up. I loved the foot washing services held at church or school, I loved the Sedar meal our parish put on each year, and I loved the Communion bread and grape juice our family shared at dinner. I loved the symbolism, the tradition, and the history behind it all.
Last year the parish deacon asked our family to be among the twelve parishioners whose feet he and the priest would wash during the Mass. Twelve parishioners represented the twelve apostles, although Siena threw off the count because he told us to take her shoe and sock off too, for good measure. We were seated at the edge of the altar in chairs facing the congregation, and the priest and deacon came around with a bowl, a pitcher, and a towel, and rinsed and dried one foot for each of us. It’s always a humbling experience that brings the Gospel stories to life for me. Siena loved it…and the rest of the congregation loved watching her. That girl knew how to work an audience even at five months old!
Our old car insurance ran out Wednesday, our new company started Friday tomorrow, and we’re still getting back on our feet from the weekend’s illnesses. HawkInWinter was able to work from home Thursday and we decided to lay low one more day instead of drive to Mass uninsured.
So we had our own little Holy Thursday and broke bread together. Then topped it off with some butter and agave nectar. Totally how they did it at the Last Supper, right?
Here’s the recipe I grew up with:
1 c Wheat Flour
1 c bisquick
1/3 c honey
1/3 c water
Mix until gooey.
Pat into a greased pie pan.
Bake at 350
20-30 minutes until firm but soft
or microwave 4 minutes and add one minute at a time until not gooey, and cooked in the center
We attended the Good Friday service to mourn Jesus’ death on the cross. Each parish or Campus Ministry team at the different places I’ve attended Good Friday services has its own way of making this unique service dramatic, but they all include minimal decorations. Our altar looked so dark and barren without candles, cloths, banners, statues, flowers, or the tabernacle. The crucifix was covered in a red cloth that matched the priests’ garments. Often if Siena gets restless in Mass I can point out the flowers, the candles, or Baby Jesus and his Momma and Daddy. She did get pretty restless through the long readings and intercessions, and I wished I had brought more distractions for her than just her new purse and her Nemo Easter Egg. We spent some time in the back on the stairs leading up to the choir loft. Any suggestions for shaping appropriate toddler church behavior are quite welcome! Siena came up with me to venerate the cross, thinking it was pretty silly that we were all giving it a kiss, but happy to play along.
Holy Saturday is a day of waiting, remembering Jesus in the tomb, and preparing for the biggest feast day of the year. We prepared our home, prepared our Easter clothes, prepared some activities for tomorrow, and dyed eggs. We also attended an Easter Egg hunt with some Mormon friends. I’ll need a day or two to get those pictures uploaded since we used the good camera, but these are some I grabbed with the point and shoot as we dyed eggs. As they went into the dye she labelled them eggs, but when they came out colored she considered them balls. Once she figured out that colored eggs are still eggs, she wanted to eat one. She clearly paid attention to my tapping the egg to crack the shell, because she spent a while very seriously tapping her peeled egg on her tray.
In the evening we attended the Easter Vigil, and this time I had a collection of distractions prepared for Siena. There were also plenty of things to point out in our surroundings, and we do that whenever we can so we save the food and toys for when we need them. I think this is the first year I didn’t attend my home parish for Easter Vigil, so it’s always a bit sad when you’re expecting one thing and get another. Every other reading was in Spanish, for example, as were most of the songs, the Lord’s Prayer, and every other sentence of the homily. Mariachi music doesn’t have the same exultant feeling to me as hymns like Roll Away The Stone. Still, the fundamentals were there.
We started off outside with the fire to light the Easter candle, Siena watching from her Daddy’s shoulders, adding her own commentary. Candle. Baby. Dog! (when a neighborhood dog barked) Car. Muah! (blowing kisses from her high perch) We (well, those of us without babies, that is) processed into the dark church with taper candles lit from the Easter Candle, which held her attention fairly well for the first readings and songs, until it was time to blow them out and the familiar lights turned back on. When Father walked down the aisle sprinkling us with Holy Water, she found that rather entertaining too. During the Liturgy of Baptism, Siena heard running water and wanted to stand on my lap to get a better view. She was at the end of her patience by the time we went up for Communion. In between all those natural distractions, HawkInWinter and I took turns keeping her quiet with a book, her stuffed dog, water bottle, Rice Chex, Gerber yogurt melts, an empty plastic Easter egg, and stickers and paper. We were asking an awful lot of her by taking her to a two hour Mass and putting her to bed three hours late. She is now sleeping soundly, likely with no idea what joy tomorrow holds.
Next year we’ll do some simple teaching about the meaning behind the different things we do during Lent and Holy Week, but last year and this year it’s been fun simply to expose her to these aspects of our Catholic culture. For now, I’m off to hide some eggs with my husband!