Hundreds attend Easter Triduum at cathedral

BOSTON -- The traditional events of the Easter Triduum at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross were able to take place this year as crowds returned to pre-pandemic size. Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley led the liturgies, which took place April 14-16.

The Triduum consists of Holy Thursday, when Christ instituted the priesthood and the celebration of the Eucharist; Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion and death for the sins of the world; and Easter, which begins with the Easter Vigil on the evening of Holy Saturday, celebrating Christ's Resurrection. Due to the pandemic, these liturgies at the cathedral were not open to the public in 2020 and were held on a much smaller scale than usual in 2021. But this year, they were open and well-attended, with many worshipers coming in person while CatholicTV broadcasted for those watching from home.

The Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday traditionally includes a foot-washing ceremony, since Christ washed the feet of his disciples and instructed them to wash each other's feet, a sign of service. Guests at the cathedral's Holy Thursday Mass on April 14 included members of the Ukrainian Catholic Community: Father Yaroslav Nalysnyk, the pastor of Christ the King Parish in Jamaica Plain; Ihor Kowal, Christ the King Parish choir director; and Myron Kravchuk, a member of Ukraine Forward. Father Nalysnyk concelebrated the Mass, and Kowal and Kravchuk participated in the foot-washing ceremony.

On Good Friday, April 15, live Stations of the Cross were held in the streets of South Boston, with the first and last stations taking place at the cathedral. A Liturgy of the Lord's Passion was held in English that afternoon and in Spanish that evening. Attendees had the opportunity to venerate a relic of the True Cross, kept in the base of a large crucifix.

The Easter Vigil Mass took place on April 16. Starting in darkness, this liturgy includes the blessing of the Easter fire, the lighting of the new Paschal Candle, and the first chanting of the Alleluia since the beginning of Lent. The faithful receive candles and pass along flames to signify the light of Christ, which multiplies as it is shared, a symbol of dispelling the darkness of sin. The Liturgy of the Word for this Mass includes several readings that highlight salvation history, culminating in the proclamation of the Easter Gospel. This is also when new Catholics traditionally receive the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, initiating them fully into the Church.