Franciscan University of Steubenville celebrated the Triduum with many liturgies and celebrations that brought students, faculty and families into communion with Christ’s Passion, death and Resurrection. From Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, participants brought themselves before the Lord in prayer, sacraments and fellowship.
The Rev. Gregory Plow, TOR, celebrated campus-wide mass in the Finnegan Fieldhouse at 7:30 p.m.
During the liturgy, 12 men had their feet washed to remember the washing of the disciple’s feet. Included in the group were students and professors. In Plow’s homily, he asked, “Are Christians willing to let the Lord wash their feet?”
Jennifer Schendel, freshman psychology major, appreciated the insight she gained from Plow’s homily. Schendel said she was “surprised” when Plow mentioned it was harder for the disciples to let Jesus wash their feet than it was for them to accept the Eucharist. “I had never noticed that before and it made me appreciate the Gospel even more,” said Schendel.
After mass, Plow led a candlelit procession, carrying the Blessed Sacrament to a high altar set up in Christ the King Chapel. Adoration was held until 11 p.m., allowing people to have a time of silence and prayer as the Triduum began.
Students, families and faculty gathered in Christ the King Chapel at 9 a.m. to witness the Living Stations, a Passion play presented by students of Franciscan University.
At noon, Communion and Liberation hosted a prayer service called The Way of the Cross. The attendees walked behind the Crucifix in a procession around campus, stopping at four stations set up with microphones and speakers.
Beginning with prayer, song and a meditation, each station focused on Christ’s Passion and the faith of the Blessed Mother. The procession ended at Christ the King Chapel by 2 p.m.
Promptly at 3 p.m. in the Finnegan Fieldhouse, the celebration of the Lord’s Passion commenced. Lasting until 5 p.m., the service included its annual, highly-anticipated traditions of a sung Gospel reading and veneration of the cross by catechumens, consecrated religious men and women, altar servers and clergy. The Rev. Jonathan McElhone, TOR, led the Good Friday Eucharistic service.
Throughout the day, campus was still and very quiet, as many students and clergy spent time in prayer, fasting or peaceful recreation.
Coming together to celebrate the Resurrection, students, families and faculty packed the Finnegan Fieldhouse starting at 7:30 p.m. when the doors opened. At 8:45 p.m. the Rev. Shawn Roberson, TOR, began the liturgy with the blessing and lighting of the Easter candle. From its flame, each member of the congregation lit their own candle, illuminating the dark Fieldhouse in the first few minutes of prayer.
Many readings and psalms told the story of creation and salvation history, leading up to the gospel of the Resurrection. Before the gospel was read, the music ministry team led the “Alleluia,” bringing smiles to almost every face and joy to every heart that praised the Lord.
Following Roberson’s homily, Rites of Christian Initiation brought seven new members into the Catholic Church. Three students were baptized and then entered the Church by receiving the sacraments of Confirmation and first Holy Communion.
Applause and cheers provided a resounding welcome for those who completed their sacraments of initiation. From the congregation, a young girl also received her first Communion, dressed and veiled in white.
Meghan Rajkowski, sophomore psychology major, said she liked the lights in the Fieldhouse “because it’s like Jesus’ light after the darkness of Good Friday.” Rajkowski said the Triduum liturgies are special because “all the preparation of Lent leads to the Resurrection and the joy that comes with the Easter season.”
Reputably the “best party of the year,” the Resurrection Party included live music, dancing, food, desserts and joyous celebration until 4 a.m. on Sunday morning. Those volunteering to work the event wore bright pink t-shirts that read in capital letters, “Jesus is alive. Time to party.”
Students, faculty, clergy and visiting families clearly enjoyed the party, as many stayed up late eating food and dancing all night long. Included in the party was a balloon drop, a donut room, pizza, a conga line, ice cream and popsicles.