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Holy Week Lessons in a Time of Pandemic

I live for Holy Week.

I know that I’m not alone in my love for Holy Week and the Triduum. While an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame, I was one of many students who would line up outside the doors of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart for hours before they were opened for the Triduum liturgies. I was not the only one who would rush in to claim a seat. And I wasn’t the only one who occasionally had to take whatever seat she could find – even if that was a spot on the floor.

I have attended Triduum liturgies in different states and different dioceses, and although few are quite as extreme in their enthusiasm as my fellow Notre Dame undergraduates were, in every parish that I have belonged to I have found fellow devotees of these most holy liturgies of the year. I have missed only a few scattered Triduum liturgies since reaching the age of reason, and never an entire Triduum. Even when pregnant and sick with hyperemesis gravidarum, I couldn’t bear to miss the Triduum.

But this year, I find myself in the same place as many laity across the United States and around the world — in a diocese where public Masses have been suspended, as part of an effort to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of a global pandemic. This year, the only Triduum liturgies that I will be able to participate in will be streamed on my laptop, propped on a makeshift home altar in our living room.

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