Our students can experience so much of the richness and meaning of Christ’s passion, death, and Resurrection when we teach them about the celebrations of the Triduum. Here are some ideas to light a fire in them that they can carry home and share with their families!
Many kids have never participated in any Triduum
liturgies. This can be a discouraging exercise, especially if you are working with
older students, but take care not to give the impression that you are checking
up on them or blaming them for not celebrating the Triduum with the
parish community. They may not have had the opportunity, especially if their parents have not participated in these
important days. Instead of being disheartened by
what you learn, think of this as an opportunity to increase the
students’ desire to participate more fully in the Triduum.
Making a Triduum Chart Print the word Triduum on the board and explain that it means “three
days.” Point out that the Triduum is the heart and soul of the
liturgical year and our faith. The Triduum begins at sundown on Holy
Thursday and ends at sundown on Easter Sunday.
Work with students to create a chart on the board to help them better
understand our celebration of the Triduum. Begin by asking them to name
what we celebrate on Holy Thursday. Offer clues until they recognize
that we recall the Last Supper on the first night of the Triduum.
Continue doing this until students acknowledge that on Good Friday we
remember Jesus’ crucifixion and death and that on Holy Saturday evening
we celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection. Help older students learn the formal
names of the celebrations of the Triduum: Evening Mass of the Lord’s
Supper; Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion; and the Easter Vigil.
Continuing to work with the chart, have students share their
understanding of what takes place during each of these celebrations.
Knowing the liturgies with which students are already familiar will
help you see what they need to learn. Poll the class to determine which
Triduum liturgies they have attended.
Review the meaning of the word Easter. Eastre (Anglo Saxon) was a
spring pagan festival celebrating the rising of the sun, new life, and
new beginnings. At Easter, Christians celebrate the rising of the Son
of God, Jesus Christ, and the everlasting new life made possible by his
Another name for Easter is Pascha (Greek) or Pesach (Hebrew)—the Passover of the Lord from death to new life.
Holy Week Activities
Tell students that Christians treasure the diary of a fourth-century
Spanish pilgrim named Egeria who describes traveling to Jerusalem to
celebrate Holy Week. When she returned home, she shared her
observations with her church community. Challenge older students to keep a Holy Week diary. Suggest they
include observations about the parts of these days and liturgies that
are the most meaningful to them and the reasons for their choices.
Cut a piece of butcher paper to cover the entire outside of your
classroom door. Invite students to work in teams to illustrate on the
paper the first day of Holy Week—Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion—and
the events of the Triduum.
Ristow, Contributing Editor to CATECHIST, is National Catechetical
Consultant for RCL Benziger. She has been involved in children’s
religious education for over 25 years as a Catholic-school teacher and
Source: CATECHIST Magazine, March 2010 Copyright 2010, Peter Li, Inc. This article
may not be reprinted or reproduced in any form without permission, except for
use with your classes or families.