Paschal Triduum

paschal triduum

I had never heard about this until this year.  Well if I had heard of it, I didn’t really pay attention to it.  We are in the midst of Holy Week.  That I always knew.  I knew when Holy week was and what happens but I never took note of the saying Paschal Triduum. So what is it?

Triduum is a three day period of prayer before a Roman Catholic feast.  Lent ends and the Paschal Triduum leads up to Easter.

holy thursday

It starts with Holy Thursday.  This is the day that Jesus celebrated the Last Supper.  Chrism masses are celebrated in each diocese where the priests and the Bishop gather to consecrate the holy oils that are used for Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick.  I have never been to one of these masses but would love to attend one someday.  Each church also only celebrates one mass on this day at sundown.  The mass is the celebration of the Last Super.  Just as Jesus washed the feet of his apostles, the priest at each church washes the feet of an elect 12.  This reminds us of John 13.  God wants us to take care of each other and love one another as he loved us

Before Pope Francis came along the washing of the feet always took place at the Vatican or the Basilica of St. John Lateran.  Only 12 men in the service were chosen prior to Pope Francis.  Pope Francis has washed the feet of young people from a juvenile detention center, the elderly and disabled.   This year he chose 12 inmates and a baby.  It saddens me to think that this might cause controversy because it shouldn’t.  It is the exact example that Jesus would smile on.  He is doing exactly as Jesus would do.  He is showing all of us what truly loving one another means.

Holy Thursday ends with Judas betraying Jesus.  The altar is cleared and becomes bare until Easter.

good friday

Good Friday is next.  We solemnize the passion of Jesus.  Our church carries an extremely large cross through the streets of the town and the 12 Stations of the Cross are read and pondered on.  Other churches act out the Stations of the Cross.  We also fast and abstain from meat on this day.  Why?  Fasting can allow us to pray more clearly and can help to draw us closer to God.  I think being in tune to how your body feels and the effects of not eating can be amazing, an eye opener.  We don’t eat meat in Honor of Jesus’s death.  It’s a form of penance.  Both of these are our own little sacrifices that we can make to show our love for God and bring us closer to him.  We remember and participate in some very small way, in the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us on this day.

holy saturday

Holy Saturday is the day that Jesus descended to the dead to bring the righteous to Heaven.  The altar remains bare until the Easter Vigil.  At the Easter vigil the candles are re-lit and the celebration of Easter begins.  Jesus has risen from the dead!!!

Happy Easter to all!!!



copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent


Lent 101


Why do Catholic’s celebrate Lent?  For us Easter is the greatest Holy Day in our calendar. It is the day that Jesus was resurrected from the dead and the gates of Heaven were re-opened.  So we spend the 40 days before hand preparing for this celebration.  40 days and 40 nights are referenced in Mathew chapter 4.  Jesus was led into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.

But there are 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.  Christ was resurrected on Sunday and therefore the disciples saw Sunday as a day of celebration.  Thus, we do not fast on Sundays but celebrate his resurrection.


It starts with Ash Wednesday.  The palms from prior Palm Sundays are burned and distributed on this day.  They remind us that from dust we were born and to dust we will return. (Genesis 3:19)  It also reminds us to repent. Jesus gave up his life for us, shouldn’t we strive to be the best Catholic’s we can be?

We receive a small cross of ashes on our head.  The ash symbolizes our mortality and sin. The cross represents Jesus’s resurrection and his forgiveness.  Pretty powerful huh?

Lent (1)

Ash Wed is actually not a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church.  Yet, I know for me and so many others we feel it is.  If Jesus gave his life for me, I certainly can prepare by attending mass on Ash Wed and receiving ashes.  Many churches do offer ashes through the day without necessarily having a mass too.  Check your local churches.  It is one day a year that you can tell who is Catholic and who is not.  It is one day I am proud that everyone who sees me knows my faith.

Why do we fast and abstain from meat today?  I am a sinner and I want to show God that I am truly sorry.  However, when we fast we are not to show that we are fasting in our behavior or appearance.  Fasting can allow us to pray more clearly and can help to draw us closer to God.  It is a little sacrifice on our part to bring us closer to God.  The church says that you are allowed to eat one meal and two smaller snacks that do not equal the size of a normal meal.  I have tried to see how long I can fast before I need anything. I think being in tune to how your body feels and the effects of not eating can be amazing, an eye opener.  We abstain from meat in honor of Jesus’s passion on Good Friday.

We offer something up or try to do something good during this time to help us turn away from sin and back towards God.  We are faced with so many temptations in our day to day life.  This is the perfect time to work on resisting temptation and bringing God back to our number one focus.  I try to always give something up that I know I struggle with but also do something that I know helps me grow closer to God.  This year my son and I are giving up the use of electronics (unless needed for job, school or communication).  I am also going to pray the rosary when I would have been playing a game or something.  My prayers offered up during my rosary are going to be for people that I would otherwise not want to pray for. I.e.: Isis, gangs, murderers, abusers…

The true beauty comes when you aren’t doing things because your religion says you should but because you want to.  Your love for God and the sacrifice of Jesus pulls you to do it.  That is when it becomes truly powerful.

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copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent


Lenten Season

Today I just wanted to touch base about an idea I had for Lent.

I had planned on coming up with ideas of what to do with your kids during this preparatory season or helping them to decide what they were going to give up.  But, I have been watching a few movies or shows about prisons and have seen a lot of news with so much violence going on.  I have come up with a different thought for this season.

During this time instead of giving something up or trying to do something positive I have a radical idea.  What if each and every one of us were to pray for someone who we would never want to pray for.  Some examples are; those who are pushing us around at school, those who are torturing people around the world, those who are accused of murder, or gang members.  These and so many others may not have anyone praying for them.  They need our prayers desperately.  How miraculous would it be if they got our prayers for 40 days.


I told my children about my new idea and they liked it.  They thought it was a great idea. So not only am I praying for someone who I may not necessarily think deserves my prayers but I am teaching my children a valuable lesson.  It’s easy to pray for those who ask for our prayers or our loved ones who need them.  Let’s challenge ourselves to think of those causing evil in the world.  I truly believe in the miracle of prayer and while we may not see any change,  God may be working his magic in their hearts.



copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent