Easter Sunday this year is April 12, but the events of Easter begin on Holy Thursday (today, April 9). The celebration of Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday is called the Triduum, which translates into “three days.” 

Since the days are counted as the Jews count their days – from sundown to sundown – the Triduum begins at dusk on Holy Thursday with the Mass of the Lord's Supper, includes Good Friday (April 10) and concludes at dusk on Easter Sunday.

The events the faithful recall in these holy days leading up to Easter include the Last Supper, Jesus crowned with thorns, beaten by the soldiers, imprisoned, carrying His cross, and His crucifixion. All of those events make up “the Passion of Jesus.”

For this year's Mass of the Lord's Supper - in keeping with guidelines and best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 - the washing of the feet, which is already optional, will be omitted; and the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose that takes place at the end will also be omitted.

After Holy Thursday Mass this evening, no Masses are celebrated until the Easter Vigil on Saturday, April 11. A liturgical service is held to commemorate Good Friday.

Even though it is three days long, the Catholic Church looks at the Triduum as one event. That is because it is both His death and resurrection together – called the Paschal Mystery – that makes up Jesus’s victory over sin for us.

Easter itself is celebrated for eight days (this year until April 19, Divine Mercy Sunday). The Easter season continues for 50 days and includes the celebration of the Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven (which this year in the Archdiocese of Washington is Sunday, May 24) and the celebration of Pentecost (which this year is Sunday, May 31).

The readings for Masses and the Good Friday liturgical service are as follows:

April 9: Thursday of Holy Week, The Lord's Supper

The Paschal Triduum begins

Readings:

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

John 13:1-15

April 10: Friday of the Passion of Our Lord, Good Friday

Readings:

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9

John 18:1-19:42

April 11: Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)

Readings (to be read after twilight, approximately 8 p.m.):

Genesis 1:1-2:2 or Genesis 1:1, 26-31

Genesis 22:1-18 or Genesis 22:1-2, 9, 10-13, 15-18

Exodus 14:15-15:1

Isaiah 54:5-14

Isaiah 55:1-11

Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4

Ezekiel 36:16-17, 18-28

Romans 6:3-11

Matthew 28:1-10

April 12: Easter Sunday, the Resurrection of Our Lord

Readings:

Acts 10:34, 37-43

Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6-8

John 20:1-9