As prelude to the Paschal Triduum is the solemn Chrism Mass, which the bishop celebrates with his presbytery, and in the course of which at the same time the priestly promises are renewed, made on the day of ordination. It is a gesture of great value, an occasion all the more propitious in which the priests confirm their fidelity to Christ who chose them as his ministers.

In this year, this priestly meeting assumes a particular meaning, because it is happening in the Priestly Year, celebrated on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the death of the holy Curé of Ars.

Blessed also in the Chrism Mass will be the oil of the sick and of catechumens, and the chrism will be consecrated. These are rites that signify symbolically the fullness of Christ's priesthood and the ecclesial communion that must animate Christian people, gathered for the Eucharistic sacrifice and vivified in the unity of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Season of Lent has always been an important time in the life of members of the Church. The activities that we participate in during Lent – personal sacrifice, communal prayer, fasting and abstinence and alms giving – all remind us that this is no ordinary time for the Church.

The Triduum liturgies are rich with experiences that we have at no other time during the Church Year: the Washing of Feet, the Veneration of the Cross, the Service of Light, the singing of the Exultet, the Baptism of the Elect and the Reception of the Candidates into full membership of the Church.

Could you please to share with us some of your thoughts attending these ceremonies?

Certainly, I’ve found particularly for today’s busy life that during the year, as a Christian, it’s quite easy to forget the foundations of our belief in Jesus. I have a strong belief in Jesus, a strong faith, and as we approach the Easter period, starting off with the mass of The Last Supper. It reminds me personally of the sacrifice that Jesus made offering us his body and blood, leading to the passion and then the resurrection. For me it’s a very powerful re-enactment and refreshment of the faith that I have.

On Good Friday, we are invited to meditate on the evil and sin that oppress humanity and on the salvation by the redemptive sacrifice of Christ. On this day, Christian tradition has given life to different manifestations of popular piety. Striking among these are the penitential processions of Good Friday and the pious exercise of the 'Via Crucis,' which help to internalize the mystery of the cross.

Many believe that the Triduum are particularly opportune to make more profound the conversion of our heart to Jesus Christ who out of love died for us.

How about your experience?

Helen: Certainly, thank you for asking me to share some thoughts. Easter to me is the most beautiful time of the year, for us Christians. I find that the ceremonies where we have, washing of the feet and then after that the wonderful way in which we do the cross, outdoor way of the cross, and the way on Friday afternoon we bring in the cross and worship it. I also love the Easter vigil. The Easter vigil to me is the most beautiful of ceremonies in the Church, with the fire and the lighting of the candle, baptisms, the blessing of the water and the beauty of the music. It is just to me the most beautiful ceremonies. And I find that if I don’t attend these ceremonies, that Easter isn’t real for me and I’m very grateful that I am practising and able to spend time with the people at these ceremonies.

With Easter, we put a lot of time and effort into making each one of the ceremonies exceptional. Holy Thursday night we have an enactment of Jesus at the Last Supper, followed by the feet washing. That night, a tomb appears in our Church, which is put up with a body of Jesus in it. This is so that the next morning, when we do the outdoor reflections of the cross, which is done by the members of our community, we have linked all the different parts of Easter together. The outdoor reflections of the cross was started in this parish some 20 odd years ago, when we realised we’d simply could not feat the number people that wanted to come into the Church, so we started work on it. Now it’s quite sophisticated, we’ve done a lot of work on costumes and the people that do it, even though they’re members of the community, really do a wonderful job. They put a lot of effort into rehearsals, they spend a lot of time learning their scripts and it is a wonderful time for those who come to reflect on what happened to Jesus on that first Good Friday. I’m always very grateful to everyone who supports this particular form of reflection. We nowadays do it purely scripturally. We stick what is in scripture, we follow that through and we do the very best to do the right thing by the people that come and want to pray with us, as it is a form of prayer and not a passion play.