The “Three Days” of Ancient Easter – by Harold Wessell

Many Christians, especially in smaller towns,  recall when much of daily business and even leisure activity came to a halt from Noon to 3:00PM on Good Friday in reverence for Jesus' suffering and death on the Cross. On that day most of all,  the custom developed of services focused on the  Seven Last Words from the Cross, a custom that many churches still cherish.

   In Roman Catholic tradition, the services of the Sacred Triduum – Latin for a three-day period -- are said not to be separate; but  truly one  continuous liturgy, a sort of "elongated Holy Day."  The Mass of Holy Thursday and the Liturgy on Good Friday actually do not include closing rites. Rather, they build organically toward the Easter Vigil, and together express the whole of Jesus’ "Passover" experience of suffering, death and resurrection.

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