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P7 - Jesus Through Art: Mary Magdalene

Triduum aesthetics 

This page uses St Bernadette’s, Motherwell as an example of how the aesthetics of the church changes dramatically from Good Friday/Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday.  This hopefully will help P7 and other teachers to encourage children to appreciate this change and its significance, in response to the following piece of core learning from This is Our Faith:RERC 2‐18a  I have reflected on the change of aesthetics in the Church and through participation in the liturgies of the Easter Triduum, I can explain the contrast in the Church between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.



Good Friday/Holy Saturday:

The banners are particular to St Bernadette’s, but the essentials are the same in all churches:    

- the tabernacle is empty.  The Roman Missal, in the instructions for Holy Thursday (p.330) states: “The tabernacle should be entirely empty; but a sufficient amount of bread should be consecrated inthis Mass for the Communion of the clergy and the people on this and the following day.”  

At the conclusion of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday night, the Eucharist is removed to the place of repose.  Therefore there is no santuary lamp burning since the lamp shows that Jesus is truly present in the tabernacle.    

- the altar is bare and the cross covered.  Roman Missal p.346: “At an appropriate time, the altar is stripped and, if possible, the crosses are removed from the church.  It is expediant that any crosses which remain in the church should be veiled



The cross in St Bernadette’s:

In St Bernadette’s during Lent a large cross is displayed, draped in a purple cloth, the liturgical colour of Lent. This is maintained on Good Friday/Holy Saturday, as we are asked to reflect on the Lord’s death and his presence in the tomb.         

In St Bernadette’s a symbolic whip and crown of thorns, instruments of Jesus’ passion, are added.          

The stones at the foot of the cross, symbolizing the hill of calvary, are bare.       

The holy water fonts in the chrch are also empty, as we await the Easter water which is blessed at the Easter Vigil and used for the baptism of adults.  The Baptismal font is closed (many parishes seal their Baptismal font at the beginning of Lent until Easter Sunday).



Easter Sunday:   
The sanctuary:

The sanctuary area has been transformed to celebrate the Resurrection.       

The altar is adorned withAlleluia  frontal, and the altar cloth has been restored for the celebration of the Eucharist.       

The sanctuary has many celebratory floral arrangements.       

The Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle, having been consecrated at the Easter Masses.  The sanctuary lamp has been relit to show the real presence of the Lord.     

In St Bernadette’s, the Holy Week banners have been replaced with Easter banners proclaimingHe is Risen, Alleluia!


The Paschal Candle and Easter garden:

The Paschal candle is placed in a prominent place, having been lit for the first time at the Easter Vigil.  In St Bernadette’s, 2 adults were baptised at the Easter Vigil.       

The font is open, and parishoners are invited to take the Easter water to their homes.    

The sacred oils: the Oil of Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick, and the Oil of Chrism, are displayed on the font.    

In St Bernadette’s, the connection between the Paschal candle and the baptismal font is symbolised by a draped white cloth which links them.     

The St Bernadette’s cross now bears white cloth, the colour of Easter and Resurrection.  An Easter garden of Resurrection replaces the bare stones of Calvary.

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