April 2, 2024 // Bishop

A Walk Through the Sacred Liturgies of the Triduum

Through the solemn and sacred liturgies of Holy Week, in the co-cathedrals and parishes across the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the faithful had the opportunity to walk with Christ from His journey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, to the Upper Room and the institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday, to His passion and death on Good Friday, to the joyful celebration of His glorious resurrection at Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses.

Through words and photos, Today’s Catholic is proud to share the richness of these beautiful liturgies with its readers.

HOLY THURSDAY – Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend was filled on Holy Thursday, March 28, for the celebration of a banquet of love.


Click here for more photos from the Triduum.

“My brothers and sisters, tonight we recall the Last Supper in which the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, showed His love for those who were His own in the world. He gave His body and blood under the forms of bread and wine,” Bishop Rhoades said in his homily. “St. Paul explained that as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we recall Christ’s death as we await His coming in glory. Three stages in time are brought together in this action: the past (Jesus’ death), the present (our eating His body and drinking His blood), and the future (the Second Coming of Jesus). 

Father Jacob Runyon, pastor of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception washes the feet of his parishioners at Mass on the evening of Holy Thursday. – Joshua Schipper

Bishop Rhoades discussed how the celebration of the Eucharist is a proclamation of the death of the Lord until He comes again.

“What does participation in the Eucharist mean for our Christian life? First of all, we are united to Jesus when we receive Him in holy Communion,” Bishop Rhoades said. “The gift of His body and blood fills us with His life and love and increases within us the gift of His Spirit. Our communion with Jesus through the Eucharist also reinforces our union with one another in His body, the Church. This is the reality of the Eucharist: We proclaim the death of the Lord; we take part in His Paschal Mystery, and we gain its fruits.”

Lisa Kochanowski

After the homily, members of the St. Matthew Parish community had the honor of having their feet washed by
Bishop Rhoades. This was an opportunity for the congregation to recall the foot washing Jesus performed with the disciples at the last meal they shared before He was crucified.

“Pope St. John Paul II wrote that St. John’s account of the washing of the feet brings out ‘the profound meaning’ of the Eucharist,” Bishop Rhoades said. “By bending down to wash the feet of His disciples, Jesus is explaining the meaning of the Eucharist. It is the sacrament of Christ’s love ‘to the end,’ of His self-giving love on the cross. The Eucharist doesn’t end with our receiving holy Communion,” he added. “We are sent at the end of Mass to go forth to glorify the Lord by our lives – lives of self-giving love,” Bishop Rhoades said.

GOOD FRIDAY of the Lord’s Passion

On Good Friday, March 29, Bishop Rhoades led the faithful in commemorating Christ’s passion and death at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne.

In his homily, Bishop Rhoades recounted a question he often gets asked during Holy Week – namely, why it’s called “Good Friday” when it was the day on which Jesus suffered unimaginable torture and was killed.

“I usually answer with the words I learned when I was a little boy, the answer that was given in the Baltimore Catechism,” Bishop Rhoades said. “Good Friday is good because on this day Christ ‘showed His great love for man and purchased for him every blessing.’” 

Joshua Schipper

Bishop Rhoades continued: “We are filled with sorrow today because we know, as Isaiah prophesied, that Jesus ‘was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins,’ and that He bore our iniquities when He carried the cross. As the Catechism says: ‘the Church has never forgotten that “sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured.”’ St. Francis of Assisi once said to his brother friars words that can be addressed to us: ‘demons did not crucify Jesus. It is you who have crucified Him and crucify Him still, when you delight in your vices and sins.’ So, today, Good Friday, should be a day of repentance and sorrow for our sins.”

However, Bishop Rhoades said: “Today is not only a day of sorrow, it is a day of hope. It really is Good Friday. It truly is Great Friday because it is the day of our redemption. We will venerate the cross today, not as an instrument of torture and death or as a sign of defeat, but as the luminous sign of God’s love. We venerate the cross of Jesus because by His holy cross, He has redeemed the world. We venerate the cross as the tree of life because our crucified Lord overcame evil and death with the power of merciful love. His resurrection, the celebration of which will be the climax of this Paschal Triduum, gives us this certainty. Our crucified Lord became our Risen Lord.”

A woman venerates the cross during a Good Friday service at St. Peter Parish in Fort Wayne. – Joshua Schipper

HOLY SATURDAY at the Easter Vigil

The Easter fire, newly lit, gave warmth and light to the surrounding night at the beginning of the Easter Vigil Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on the evening of Holy Saturday, March 30.

Huddled around the fire, with a newly made Easter candle,
Bishop Rhoades, several acolytes, a crowd of catechumens and elect, and the congregation of the cathedral took in the blessing of the Easter fire as Bishop Rhoades applied the five points on the cross of the Easter, one for each of the wounds of Christ. The light from the fire softly lit each face as the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection was pondered.

The Easter Candle is lit at the beginning of the Easter Vigil Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne on Saturday, March 30. – Joshua Schipper

During the Easter Vigil Mass at the cathedral in Fort Wayne, eight candidates and six catechumens gloriously came into full communion with the Church, and they were welcomed by an overflowing Easter crowd of their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

In his homily, Bishop Rhoades explored the liturgy’s reading from the Gospel of St. Mark that recounts the witness of the three women who were first to arrive at the empty tomb of Jesus.

“Going to the tomb, the women had one major preoccupation – how were they going to roll back the large stone from the entrance to the tomb?” Bishop Rhoades said. “They would not be able to roll it back because it was so heavy. My brothers and sisters, we are all powerless to roll back the stone of death – the most inescapable fact of our human existence. But when the women got to the tomb, the stone was rolled back because God had entered the story. God had intervened.

The faithful spread the light of Easter with candles lit from the Paschal candle. – Joshua Schipper

“The women learned this from the young man inside the tomb, clothed in a white robe, an angel who said to the amazed women: ‘Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; He is not here.’ This is the Easter proclamation, the heart of our celebration on this holy night, and the crowning truth of our Christian faith.”

Bishop Rhoades welcomed numerous people into the Church at the Easter Vigil, including eight who were baptized. – Joshua Schipper

Bishop Rhoades concluded his homily by reminding those in attendance to “depart with joy and peace, with the song of Alleluia in our hearts. I pray that we will leave with the firm conviction that there is a cure for death. That cure is Christ who is our life. He to whom all power in heaven and on earth was given holds us forever in His love. He is alive and is with us on our journey every day of our lives. May we go forth strengthened by His holy sacraments as missionaries of His Gospel and witnesses of His love, the love that conquers sin and is more powerful than death!”

EASTER SUNDAY – The Resurrection of the Lord

Bishop Rhoades celebrated Easter morning with friends, family, and residents of Saint Anne Community in Fort Wayne by offering Mass in the chapel of the nursing home on Randallia Drive.

“Easter is the greatest feast of the Church, since the Resurrection of Jesus is the fundamental event upon which our Christian faith rests,” Bishop Rhoades said at the beginning of his homily. “It is an event absolutely unique in human history. I am very happy to be here with you today to celebrate with you the glorious mystery of Jesus’ resurrection here at Saint Anne’s at this Easter Sunday Mass.”

Bishop Rhoades continued: “The resurrection of Jesus is not some far-distant event that has little relevance for us today. It is the most relevant event in history and for us today. By His resurrection, Jesus opened for us the way to a new life. It’s an event that touched us when we were baptized and taken up into Jesus’ risen life and became co-heirs with Him to eternal life. We became new creatures. As St. Paul wrote to the Romans, ‘We were indeed buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.’”

Bishop Rhoades celebrates Mass at the chapel at Saint Anne Community in Fort Wayne on Easter Sunday, March 31. – Scott Warden

Bishop Rhoades spoke of the importance of the Easter tradition of the faithful renewing their baptismal promises. “The Sacrament of Baptism extends to our whole life,” he said. “We still need to renounce Satan and all his works and empty promises. We must say no to sin and yes to grace throughout our life, continuing to profess and live our faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in whose name we were baptized. We entered into the life of the Holy Trinity, eternal and indestructible life, when we died and rose with Christ in baptism. Our task as Jesus’ disciples is to remain united to Him, to follow Him and His way, the way of salvation, the way of faith, hope, and charity. … Because we have died and been raised with Christ in baptism, we shouldn’t be primarily oriented to worldly things, but to Christ, our exalted and Risen Lord. God should have priority in our lives. We should always remember that, though we are here on earth, we are citizens of heaven. Our ultimate dwelling place is the Father’s house, where Jesus has prepared a place for us. That’s our ultimate destiny, thanks to the resurrection of Jesus.”

Scott Warden
Bishop Rhoades gives Communion to a resident at Saint Anne Community during Mass on Easter Sunday, March 31.

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