St. Augustine Catholic
Everyone's Mother
Duty Under Fire
Road to Financial Freedom

in this issue... 
editor's notes
saint of the month
bishop's message
from the archives
in the know with Fr. Joe
theology 101
your marriage matters
spiritual fitness
parish profile
around the diocese
work life
catholic news
calendar of events

theology 101
the triduum
a step-by-step guide through the church’s liturgies

The beginning of the triduum, or three days, marks the end of Lent. It is not really three liturgies, it is one long liturgy, with some rest breaks. The triduum commences with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening and ends after evening prayer on Easter Sunday.

who's in the sanctuary?
The ushers are not just the men who collect the money.
They don’t even have to be men! Ushers are ministers of hospitality in the church - ensuring that parishioners have a place to sit, helping those who are in distress, readying the church before Mass, greeting people at the doors - and yes, collecting the offering and often assisting in its presentation by members of the congregation.

Holy Thursday
During the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we remember Jesus’ last meal with his disciples in a powerful way, re-enacting even the washing of feet. This symbolic gesture of servant-ministry is usually offered by the priest to members of his congregation. Following the Mass, there is a silent eucharistic procession to a chapel of repose, where we remember the Lord’s time in the Garden of Gethsemane, and we wait with him in prayer and adoration. The doors of the tabernacle in the church stand open, so everyone can see that it is empty. The sanctuary lamp is extinguished.

Good Friday
On Good Friday, there is no Mass anywhere in the universal church. We can participate in a variety of services by which we remember Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. Churches offer the Stations of the Cross, the Liturgy of Good Friday, and sometimes a Tenebrae service. During the Good Friday liturgy, we listen to a dramatic reading of the Passion, venerate the cross with a touch or kiss, and receive Communion from reserved consecrated hosts. Again, we depart in silence. If the parish has a Tenebrae (darkness) service, it is held at night. The seven last words of Jesus are spoken, with a candle extinguished at each one. It is a powerful and moving experience of the need for the Light.

Easter Vigil
The most beautiful Mass of the entire year occurs on Holy Saturday night, at the Easter Vigil. The Mass begins after dark with the blessing of new fire, the lighting of the paschal candle and a candlelit procession into the church. The Exultet, a history of salvation, is chanted and we listen to readings from the Old and New Testaments that reflect that history. There may be as many as nine readings, followed by the first time we have sung the Gloria since the beginning of Lent.

The Easter Vigil includes the baptism, confirmation and first Communion of catechumens who have been preparing for this day for months. We welcome them into our community and celebrate their presence among us.

Although the Easter Vigil can be quite long, it is truly worth spending the time - it is a rich experience of the resurrection of the Lord. And for the first time since Ash Wednesday, we sing Alleluia!

why do we do that?
The Communion procession: There has been some confusion during the last couple of years about what we’re supposed to be doing as we receive Communion. The most recent translation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) continues the understanding of our reception of Communion in procession - that is, we all rise and move solemnly to receive the Blessed Sacrament, then remain standing until all have received. In the United States, the bishops have determined that the appropriate gesture of reverence prior to receiving Communion is a bow of the head. This commonality of gesture expresses our unity as we receive the sacrament of unity: Communion. Local bishops have some leeway to allow people to kneel or stand after receiving, prior to the end of the procession.

what's he wearing?
Pectoral Cross: The bishop wears a cross called a pectoral cross. Its name derives from the Latin word pectus or “breast.” There are rules that dictate how the cross is worn depending on the bishop’s garments. If he’s in a suit and collar, the pectoral cross is usually placed in the vest pocket with the chain showing - that’s why you’ll often see the bishop with a gold chain across his chest.

what's the season?
Holy Days of Obligation: There are various feasts throughout the church year that are so important they have been designated as holy days of obligation, on which the faithful must attend Mass. Each country has its own list of holy days - in most dioceses of the United States, they are Jan. 1, the Solemnity of Mary; Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption; Nov. 1, the Solemnity of All Saints; Dec. 8, the Solemnity of Immaculate Conception; and Dec. 25, the Solemnity of Christmas. If Jan. 1, Aug. 15, or Nov. 1 fall on a Saturday or Monday, the obligation to attend Mass is normally dispensed.

what's in the church?
Tabernacle: The tabernacle is the receptacle in which the consecrated hosts are reserved for distribution to the sick or other needs of the community. It is prominently displayed in the church, separated from the main altar by architecture, lighting or design. In many churches, it is in a separate chapel where it is still visible in the body of the church. When the Blessed Sacrament is present, a sanctuary lamp burns near it. People often sit or kneel in adoration in front of the tabernacle; the appropriate gesture when approaching or passing in front of it is genuflection.