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Did you know Lent ends on Holy Thursday?


Philippe Lissac | Godong

Philip Kosloski - published on 03/26/24

The holy season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends before the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.

Lent is a penitential season in the Catholic Church that spans a total of 46 days, as the 40-day fast does not include the six Sundays that occur within it.

Additionally, the season of Lent ends right before a mini liturgical season that lasts three daysbefore Easter.

Easter Triduum

Technically speaking, the Easter Triduum, also known as the “Sacred Paschal Triduum,” begins at sundown on Holy Thursday.

The Roman Missal simply states that, “the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated in the evening, at a convenient time, with the full participation of the whole local community and with all the priests and ministers exercising their office.”

Prior to that, the liturgical texts are situated within the season of Lent.

The Triduum is also considered a single Mass, even though it spans three days.

Paschal Fast

While some might say that your Lenten resolutions end on Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper also begins what is called the “Paschal Fast.”

Traditionally many Catholics prolonged their Lenten fasting from Holy Thursday until the end of the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.

Good Friday is naturally a day of fasting and abstinence, and so this tradition simply extends it to Holy Thursday and throughout the day on Holy Saturday.

Easter is near

The good news is that the Paschal Triduum signals the coming of Easter and heightens our senses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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