Triduum Traditions

These days of the Paschal Triduum are a very special time.  For me, they are not an easy time, but they are a wondrous time. They are full of traditions…traditions common to the Church throughout the world, traditions I brought from home, and traditions I have developed personally during my time here at St. Anne’s.

As we enter into this time of silence (a tradition within our community), I thought I’d share these traditions with you. Many of them relate to my work in chapel.  Sr. Rebecca and I have developed a ‘cheat sheet’ with detailed instructions on preparations needed for the liturgies.

One tradition that has come about for me, personally, is ironing the ‘curtains’ for the Altar of Repose (where the Blessed Sacrament is kept Holy Thursday evening.  They are made of delicate gold fabric and take special attention to iron.  I ironed them Monday morning because I had more time then than I would later in the week.  They are now in their own place of repose (in an empty room upstairs) until I bring them out tomorrow morning.

Another tradition I have developed is making Hot Cross Buns for our residents. This year, one of our apartment ladies helped me make them. Actually, she is a more experienced baker than I am.  We will serve them tomorrow afternoon.

Friday morning, I will, according to tradition, remove the vigil light candle stand from the chapel for cleaning.  (The Altar of Repose is placed where it usually stands.)

Sometime in the next couple of days, I will clean the stand, bake the candle holders and clean out the wax.  It’s tradition.

Another practice I have come to associate with these Holy Days is polishing the wood in the chapel and sanctuary. Without exposition during the Triduum, we have less visitors. There are long periods of time available to me to do this and other cleaning which cannot be done as easily other times.

Another tradition, which I knew as a child, has come into use again for me recently, after several years of not being involved in it.  That is, dyeing Easter eggs. I plan on doing this with a few of our residents Holy Saturday afternoon.

That same day, the Easter lilies will go into chapel; I have traditionally been helping prepare them for this.

As you can gather from reading the above, this is a busy time.  Not to mention all the liturgical preparations and planning involved.

Pray for us.

Sr. Christina serves at St. Anne's Guest Home, an assisted living-type facility in Grand Forks, North Dakota. There, she helps in a variety of roles, including receptionist, sacristan, activities, and occasional personal care aide. Along with these duties, she also manages the web page for the facility, writes their weekly blog, and edits their resident newsletter. Sr. Christina also authors "Our Franciscan Fiat", the blog for her religious community of Dillingen Franciscan Sisters in North Dakota. She also finds time for embroidery, baking, biking and liturgical music. Before entering religious life, she received a bachelor of arts in written communication, with some coursework also in graphic arts and theology.