WORKSHOP: Celebrating the Easter Triduum in the Parish


The Paschal Triduum is the high point of the Liturgical Year—and the occasion of the Church’s most complex and demanding liturgies. The source of the parish’s greatest graces, these three days require extra effort from priests, deacons, musicians, liturgists, RCIA coordinators, DRE’s, sacristans, volunteers—indeed, the whole parish.


On Saturday, January 24, at the Holy Cross Diocesan Center, the Office for Sacred Worship will host a workshop on the theological, liturgical, and practical aspects of the Paschal Triduum, from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, through Good Friday’s celebration of the Passion of Christ, to the Easter Vigil.


The presentations are geared toward musicians, sacristans, liturgy committees, RCIA coordinators, and religious educators, as well as any who wish to encounter more clearly the saving work of Christ carried out now in the sacramental signs of the liturgy.


Registration begins at 8:30 and the day will end by 3:30. Cost is $25 per person or $50 for any number of registrants from a single parish. Lunch will be provided.


More information is available at Please consider attending this event, especially if you assist in preparing for or celebrating the Sacred Triduum.


Back to top



Liturgical Notes for the Advent and Christmas Seasons ;

Blessing of the Advent Wreath

“The blessing of an Advent Wreath takes place on the First Sunday of Advent or on the evening before the First Sunday of Advent.  The blessing may be celebrated during Mass.  If the Advent Wreath is to be used in church, it should be of sufficient size to be visible to the congregation.  It may be suspended from the ceiling or placed on a stand.  If it is placed in the presbyterium, it should not interfere with the celebration of the liturgy, nor should it obscure the altar, lectern, or chair.”  The wreath is blessed on the First Sunday of Advent after the Universal Prayer;  the first candle is lit after the blessing.  On succeeding Sundays, the remaining candles are lit before Mass or immediately before the Opening Prayer, without additional blessing rites or prayers.  See Book of Blessings, nos.1509-1520 for the order of blessing.


Blessing of Families on the Feast of the Holy Family

Marriage “is the source of the family and in the life of the family husband and wife possess their distinctive charism and vocation within the people of God, in order that for each other, their children, and their friends they may be cooperators in the working of God’s grace and witnesses to faith and to Christ’s love” (Book of Blessings, n.40).  The Order for the Blessing of a Family is “a suitable means of fostering the Christian life in the members of a family, whenever a blessing is requested by the family or suggested by pastoral considerations” (n.42).  The order can be celebrated outside of Mass or within Mass, as the conclusion to the Universal Prayer or as the Prayer over the People at the end of Mass.


Epiphany Blessing of Homes

“When the faithful wish to have their homes blessed, the priest or deacon should gladly assist them.  The Christmas season, especially the feast of the Epiphany, and the Easter Season are traditional times when homes may be blessed.” (Book of Blessings, n.1597)


Proper Music for Christmas and Epiphany

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the Roman Martyrology may be recited or chanted before the beginning of the Christmas Mass during the Night.  See for sheet music and audio;  see also Appendix I of the Roman Missal.

At Epiphany, the deacon or cantor can sing “The Announcement of Easter and the Moveable Feasts” from the ambo. See for sheet music and audio;  see also Appendix I of the Roman Missal.



Back to top



Sacred Music Workshops at the Liturgical Institute


The Chants of Lent (January 9, 2015)

The first workshop, The Chants of Lent, is on Friday, January 9th, 2015 at the USML Conference Center, Mundelein, IL. This workshop will provide an introduction to fundamentals liturgical chant, and newly composed, simple chant settings that can be sung by all the faithful this Lent will be presented and explored. Learn about the Lenten cycle of Entrance Antiphons and Gospel Communions, and enrich your parish’s repertoire this Lent.  Click here to register

Treasures of the Triduum: The Chants of Holy Week (January 30, 2015)

Also, join The Liturgical Institute for the popular conference Treasures of the Triduum, which this year will explore the chants of Holy Week—from Palm Sunday through the Easter Vigil. The musical settings found in the Roman Missal will be explored in addition to newly composed settings found in the Lumen Christi Series. It is a great way to gear up for the most important liturgical celebrations of the year! Click here to register



Back to top




Rite of Baptism of Children

During the “Reception of the Child” at the beginning of the Baptismal Rite, the minister, after questioning the parents and godparents about their willingness to baptize and raise the child according to the faith, is to say:  “N., the Church of God [Ecclesia Dei] welcomes you with great joy...” (versus “N., the Christian community [communitas christiana] welcomes you with great joy….”).  The change was authorized by Pope Benedict XVI on February 22, 2013, in order to clarify the membership in the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, which baptism causes, rather than simply a community of Christian believers.  See news story here.


Purification of Sacred Vessels by a Deacon

While the General Instruction of the Roman Missal allows the priest to purify the sacred vessels “at the altar or the credence table” (n.163), the deacon is to purify the vessels only at the credence table:  “When the distribution of Communion is over, the Deacon returns to the altar with the Priest, collects the fragments, should any remain, and then carries the chalice and other sacred vessels to the credence table, where he purifies them and arranges them as usual, while the Priest returns to the chair” (n.183);  the deacon may also purify the vessels immediately after Mass.  “This clarification of the deacon’s role,” explains the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, “helps to bring forth a further expression of our theology of liturgy and holy orders, matters which are indeed central to our life in the Church.”  See fuller explanation here.


Book of Blessings:  On always making use of the Sign of the Holy Cross in Blessings

“Since, from the established usage, the liturgical custom has always been in force that in the rites of blessing the sign of the cross is employed by being traced by the celebrant with the right hand over the persons or things for whom mercy is implored, this Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in order to dispel any doubts, has established that, even if the text of the part of the Roman ritual entitled The Book of Blessings remains silent about the sign itself or lacks an express mention of the appropriate time for this action, nevertheless the sacred ministers should adopt the aforementioned sign of the cross as necessary when carrying out any blessing.  Without a mention, however, the appropriate time should be regarded as when the text of the blessing uses the words “blessing,” “to bless,” or similar or, lacking these words, when the prayer of blessing itself is concluded.” (From the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 2002)  See full text here.


The Ritual Expression of the Gift of Peace at Mass

Pope Francis, in an audience of June 7, 2014, approved the Circular Letter Pacem relinquo vobis, “Peace I leave you,” on the ritual expression of the gift of peace at Mass.  Beginning with Pope Benedict and the Synod of Bishops celebrated during the 2005 Year of the Eucharist, the liturgical meaning of the exchange of peace and its implications for Christian living have been much discussed.  Among other things, the Circular Letter seeks to instill the deep meaning of the gesture.  “It should be made clear once and for all that the rite of peace…has its own profound meaning of prayer and offering of peace in the context of the Eucharist. An exchange of peace appropriately carried out among the participants at Mass enriches the meaning of the rite itself and gives fuller expression to it. It is entirely correct, therefore, to say that this does not involve inviting the faithful to exchange the sign of peace ‘mechanically.’  … The intimate relationship between the lex orandi and the lex credendi must obviously be extended to the lex vivendi. Today, a serious obligation for Catholics in building a more just and peaceful world is accompanied by a deeper understanding of the Christian meaning of peace and this depends largely on the seriousness with which our particular Churches welcome and invoke the gift of peace and express it in the liturgical celebration.”  See here for the complete text of the Circular Letter, and here for an explanation from the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship.


Liturgical Practices During Flu Season

Pastors and parochial administrators in the Diocese of La Crosse are to use their own discretion about inviting the exchange of the Sign of Peace and the distribution of the Precious Blood from the chalice during flu seasons.  Individual members of the faithful can also determine for themselves whether to exchange the Sign of Peace with their neighbors or to receive the Precious Blood from the chalice (pastors will please make those in their care aware of this option).  If a significant change in the situation surrounding the flu occurs, further direction from the Diocese will be offered.


Back to top




Click here for the 2015 Diocesan Liturgical Calendar


Back to top




Click here for the "Rite of Distributing Holy Communion Outside Mass", updated in light of the translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal.


Back to top