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Campus Ministry prepares for Easter

Meg Handelman | Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the Office of Campus Ministry are gearing up for the Easter Triduum with a full schedule of events for students and other members of the Notre Dame community.


“These are the most important days in the liturgical year as they commemorate Christ’s suffering and triumph over sin and death, through which is made possible our own salvation,” Fr. Jim King, director of Campus Ministry, said.

Fr. Peter Rocca, rector of the Basilica, said Notre Dame hosts three celebrations during the Easter Triduum that are fairly unique to the University. These include Tenebrae Easter Vespers, Paschal Vespers and campus-wide Stations of the Cross.

“Tenebrae, celebrated Holy Thursday night from 11 p.m. to midnight, is a dramatic service of prayers, chanted readings, especially from the Book of Lamentations, and the singing of motets and anthems composed over the centuries,” Rocca said. “This service usually fills the Basilica, especially with students.”

Rocca said Tenebrae uses darkness and noise to mark the temporary triumph of darkness and chaos over light and peace during the Passion.

“It is a form of Night Prayer where candles are gradually put out until the Basilica goes completely dark, representing Jesus’ time in the tomb when his light was extinguished from the world,” King said.

The second celebration that may not be celebrated in other places is Paschal Vespers, an evening prayer held Easter Sunday at 7:15 p.m to conclude the Triduum, Rocca said.

“This liturgy includes the traditional lighting of the Easter candle and the spreadi—ng of its light, the singing of psalms, the renewal of our baptismal promises, a scripture reading, and a beautiful Easter anthem sung by the Notre Dame Liturgical Choir,” Rocca said. “Easter Vespers provides a fitting conclusion to our observance of the Paschal Triduum and our celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.”

Easter Vespers provides a fitting conclusion to the observance of the Triduum and the celebration of the Resurrection, Rocca said.

Rocca said the University offered a campus-wide Stations of the Cross event Tuesday. Hundreds of students typically participate in the Stations event, which takes place across campus and culminates with the final station at the Basilica, where priests are available for sacramental confession.

“This provides a wonderful opportunity for our students especially to recall the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis this past Sunday in Rome when he spoke on forgiveness : ‘Do not forget this: the Lord never wearies of forgiving!'” Rocca said.

Rocca said the celebration of the Triduum will begin Thursday with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

“The Mass of the Lord’s Supper is a be