Triduum liturgy brings Franciscan together in celebration


The Easter Triduum at Franciscan University was one of joyful hope for all on campus. Reflecting on the great love of Christ’s sacrifice, preparations for Easter were both fruitful and memorable.

The Rev. Nathan Malavolti kisses the crucifix during the Good Friday service in the Finnegan Fieldhouse. (Photo by James Kuepper)

Holy Thursday:

Students, families and faculty gathered in Finnegan Fieldhouse for the commencement of the Triduum on Holy Thursday evening. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper was celebrated by the Rev. Sean Sheridan, TOR.

Sheridan encouraged students to take everything they have and bring it to the foot of the cross, giving insight into how the Institution of the Eucharist pertains to Christ’s Passion.

His homily recalled the words of the Eucharistic prayer, which he shared with great emotion: “You loved us with the greatest love: for your Son, who alone is just, handed himself over to death … But before his arms were outstretched between heaven and earth, to become the lasting sign of your covenant, he desired to celebrate the Passover with his disciples.”

Twelve men, including students and faculty, had their feet washed by Sheridan. The Mass was concluded by a reverent candlelight procession to the altar of repose in Christ the King Chapel.


Good Friday: 

At noon on Good Friday, many gathered in Christ the King Chapel for a walking prayer service called The Way of the Cross. Hosted by Communion and Liberation, the procession allowed participants to unite themselves to Christ’s journey on the road to Calvary.

Marching over the hills of campus, the crowd processed behind the lifted cross in silent meditation, ending back at Christ the King around 2:00 p.m.

By 3:00 p.m., crowds had gathered in the Fieldhouse for the Good Friday passion service. The ever-joyful Rev. Nathan Malavolti, TOR, inspired great hopefulness amidst mourning.

Expounding upon the seven last words of Christ, Malavolti explained how this “truly wondrous act of love” calls all to share Christ’s love with others. The service included a beautiful retelling of the Passion, which was sung by a student choir, followed by veneration of the cross.


Easter Vigil:

The greatly anticipated Easter Vigil Mass was celebrated by the Rev. Shawn Roberson, TOR. In the packed and candlelit Fieldhouse, the three-and-a-half hour ceremony was a joyful commemoration of Christ’s Resurrection.

Roberson pointed out that throughout the many readings of salvation history, God’s presence with his people was constant. In the same way, God’s love for his people was so great that he sent his only son to die and rise again for us, ever present in the Eucharist.

The music ministry team led all who were gathered in praising the Lord, bringing smiles and even tears to the congregation with the triumphant Gloria and “Alleluia.”

Rites of initiation that night included a student baptism, two first communions, and nine confirmations. The entire congregation rose to their feet and spontaneously applauded directly following the baptism.

Junior Elizabeth Johnson said, “The Holy Spirit was truly at work tonight. Christ’s love is so abundant!”

Immediately following the Mass, students and families gathered in and outside of the J.C. Williams Center for the annual Resurrection party. With live music from a group composed of talented students, a crowded dance floor and plenty of pizza and appetizers, people of all ages enjoyed a night of celebration.

Lasting until 4:00 a.m., the festivities included an Easter egg hunt, balloon drop and antigravity machine.

“Franciscan knows how to celebrate Easter,” said freshman Anne Marie DiProperzio.