Mar 13, 2020

Readers’ Quiz: On the Paschal Triduum in the Roman Missal

Editor’s note: We continue offering our newest feature, a Readers’ Quiz, to test your own knowledge and, we hope, supplement your own understanding of the liturgy. Our first Readers’ Quiz (January 2020) tested your knowledge on the Roman Missal in general terms. This offering will see what you know about the Paschal Triduum in the Missal.


On the Paschal Triduum in the Roman Missal


  1. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Good Friday liturgy, and the Easter Vigil each begin at different times during the day. What are the Missal’s directions about these various times?


  1. The Roman Missal anticipates newly-baptized adults doing which of the following for the first time at the Easter Vigil?
    1. Bringing forward the bread and wine at the offertory.
    2. Praying the Universal Prayer (General Intercessions).
    3. Receiving Holy Communion.
    4. Being Confirmed.
    5. All of the above.
    6. Answers a. and c.


  1. True or False: If pastoral reasons suggest that there be individual veneration of the cross on Good Friday, a second or third cross may be used if the number of people is very large.


  1. The Roman Missal contains seven readings for the Easter Vigil. Still, as the Missal says, where “more serious pastoral circumstances demand it,” their number may be reduced. If the readings are reduced in number, which of the following must be retained?
    1. Genesis 1:1–2:2 — On the creation of the cosmos.
    2. Genesis 22:1–18 — On Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac.
    3. Exodus 14:15–15:1 — On the passage of the Chosen People through the Red Sea.
    4. Isaiah 54:5–14 — On the New Jerusalem.
    5. Isaiah 55:1–11 — On the salvation that is offered to all.
    6. Baruch 3:9–15 — On the fountain of wisdom.
    7. Ezekiel 36:16–28 — On the creation of a new heart and a new spirit.


  1. Does the Roman Missal prescribe a cross or crucifix for adoration on Good Friday?


  1. True or False: The priest carries the Paschal Candle into the church building at the Easter Vigil.


  1. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper ritualizes Jesus’ mandatum—his command to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34)—by:
    1. taking up a second collection.
    2. encouraging all participants to join in the washing of the feet.
    3. bringing communion to the sick and homebound.
    4. mandating the exchange of the Sign of Peace.
    5. all of the above.


  1. True or False: at the Easter Vigil, the lights in the church building are switched on at the Gloria.


  1. Bells may be rung during the Gloria at the Easter Vigil. At what point during the Triduum did they fall silent (that is, when was the last time they were used)?


  1. Who does the Missal expect to lead the singing of the “Alleluia” prior to the proclamation of the Gospel at the Easter Vigil?
    1. Choir and cantor.
    2. Priest-celebrant.


Readers’ Quiz Answers:

  1. “The Mass of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated in the evening, at a convenient time” (Roman Missal, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 1). “On the afternoon of [Good Friday], about three o’clock (unless a later hour is chosen for a pastoral reason), there takes place the celebration of the Lord’s Passion” (Good Friday, 4). “The entire celebration of the Easter Vigil must take place during the night, so that it begins after nightfall and ends before daybreak on the Sunday” (Easter Vigil, 3).
  2. e: all of the above. “It is desirable that the bread and wine be brought forward by the newly baptized” (Easter Vigil, 60). “After the sprinkling [of the people following their renewal of baptismal promises], the Priest returns to the chair where, omitting the Creed, he directs the Universal Prayer, in which the newly baptized participate for the first time” (Easter Vigil, 58). “Before the Ecce Agnus Dei (Behold the Lamb of God), the Priest may briefly address the newly baptized about receiving their first Communion and about the excellence of this great mystery, which is the climax of Initiation and the center of the whole of Christian life” (Easter Vigil, 64). “If adults have been baptized, the Bishop or, in his absence, the Priest who has conferred Baptism, should at once administer the Sacrament of Confirmation” (Easter Vigil, 50).
  3. While the former Sacramentary permitted a second or third cross for veneration, the current Roman Missal does not. Instead, it states, “Only one Cross should be offered for adoration. If, because of the large number of people, it is not possible for all to approach individually, the Priest, after some of the clergy and faithful have adored, takes the Cross and, standing in the middle before the altar, invites the people in a few words to adore the Holy Cross and afterwards holds the Cross elevated higher for a brief time, for the faithful to adore it in silence” (Good Friday, 19).
  4. c: Exodus 14:15–15:1 — On the passage of the Chosen People through the Red Sea. The Missal says: “where more serious pastoral circumstances demand it, the number of readings from the Old Testament may be reduced, always bearing in mind that the reading of the Word of God is a fundamental part of this Easter Vigil. At least three readings should be read from the Old Testament, both from the Law and from the Prophets, and their respective Responsorial Psalms should be sung. Never, moreover, should the reading of chapter 14 of Exodus with its canticle be omitted” (Easter Vigil, 21).
  5. Cross (although interpretations and practices differ!). The Missal itself seems to indicate a cross, by constantly referring to this element of the Good Friday liturgy as “Adoration of the Holy Cross,” as well as speaking simply of “Holy Cross” in its rubrics. The priest or deacon, while unveiling or showing the cross, calls the faithful to “Behold the wood of the cross” (Good Friday, 15), “on which hung [but no longer hangs?] the salvation of the World.” In addition, the Missal’s General Instruction, when indicating a crucifix, describes it as a “cross adorned with a figure of Christ crucified” (117, 122)—a description not found in the Good Friday section of the Missal. Historically, too, the adoration appears to be of the actual cross of Christ. Still, many places—including the Good Friday papal liturgy in Rome—use a crucifix.
  6. False. Even though the former Sacramentary indicated that the priest carry forward the Paschal Candle, the current Missal states, “The Deacon or, if there is no Deacon, another suitable minister, takes the paschal candle and a procession forms. The thurifer with the smoking thurible precedes the Deacon or other minister who carries the paschal candle. After them follows the Priest with the ministers and the people, all holding in their hands unlit candles” (Easter Vigil, 15). Accordingly, the order of procession—thurible, candle, priest, people—evokes that first great exodus from Egypt, where a Column of Cloud and a Pillar of Fire led Moses and the Chosen People from slavery into freedom.
  7. c: bringing communion to the sick and homebound. “At an appropriate moment during Communion, the Priest entrusts the Eucharist from the table of the altar to Deacons or acolytes or other extraordinary ministers, so that afterwards it may be brought to the sick who are to receive Holy Communion at home” (Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 33). The Missal expresses a further response to Jesus’ mandate at the offertory: “At the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, there may be a procession of the faithful in which gifts for the poor may be presented with the bread and wine” (Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 14).
  8. False: “When the Deacon arrives before the altar, he stands facing the people, raises up the candle and sings a third time, ‘The Light of Christ,’ and all reply, ‘Thanks be to God.’ Then the Deacon places the paschal candle on a large candlestand prepared next to the ambo or in the middle of the sanctuary. And lights are lit throughout the church, except for the altar candles” (Easter Vigil, 17).
  9. Gloria at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. “The Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) is said. While the hymn is being sung, bells are rung, and when it is finished, they remain silent until the Gloria in excelsis of the Easter Vigil, unless, if appropriate, the Diocesan Bishop has decided otherwise. Likewise, during this same period, the organ and other musical instruments may be used only so as to support the singing” (Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 7).
  10. d: Priest-celebrant. “After the Epistle has been read, all rise, then the Priest solemnly intones the Alleluia three times, raising his voice by a step each time, with all repeating it. If necessary, the psalmist intones the Alleluia. Then the psalmist or cantor proclaims Psalm 118 (117) with the people responding Alleluia” (Easter Vigil, 34).