Diocese marks triduum

Staff Reports

The Catholic Commentator

Bishop Robert W. Muench celebrated the annual Chrism Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral on March 28, one day before the start of the triduum, which marks the holiest time of the liturgical year. Bishop Muench was joined by priests, deacons and diocesan employees representing various agencies, church parishes and schools from throughout the Diocese of Baton Rouge.  

Father Tom Ranzino, pastor at St. Jean Vianney Church in Baton Rouge, celebrated the Easter Vigil Mass on March 30. Photo by Father Gerald Burns | Special to The Catholic Commentator


In his homily, Bishop Muench touched on various topics including prayer for peace and unity for the city of Baton Rouge. He also noted the great work of priests in the diocese, many of whom attended the Mass, and he recognized those priests who were celebrating special anniversary years marking their ordinations. The bishop also talked about the need for more vocations.  

On Holy Thursday, churches celebrated Masses remembering the Last Supper and Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples. At Sts. Anthony of Padua and Le Van Phung Church in Baton Rouge, pastor Father Peter Nguyen Viet Tan ICM and Deacon Hieu Nguyen marked the event by washing the feet of students from St. Anthony’s Parish School of Religion. During his homily, Deacon Hieu talked about the meaning of bearing crosses.  

“Don’t lose hope when you have crosses in your life because Jesus is always with you,” said Deacon Hieu. “Without Jesus, your cross is meaningless.”  

On Good Friday, most churches hosted the Stations of the Cross, commemorating Jesus’ last day on earth as a man, while the Hispanic Apostolate held its annual live re-enactment of The Passion in north Baton Rouge. And at St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Maurepas, a crowd of about 200 participated in the Good Friday walk, observing the Stations of the Cross. 

On Saturday, parishioners of St. John the Evangelist Church in Plaquemine gathered at dusk in the courtyard to celebrate the Easter Vigil Mass. After pastor Father Greg Daigle blessed the paschal candle, Deacon Alfred Ricard lit it from an Easter fire. From the paschal candle, people lit each others’ candles and proceeded into the church, creating a soft glow in the darkened building. The lights were turned on just before the singing of the Gloria. The congregation also sang the Alleluia before the Gospel reading for the first time since the beginning of Lent.  

“Tonight is a night of victory,” declared Father Daigle in his homily. 

He said the church does well to enter into the sacred mystery of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection and receive his body and blood, which is a meal for the spirit as well as the anticipation of the heavenly banquet.  

“We come to God in our sinfulness, and he died for us, we know this,” said Father Daigle. “We know that we put him to death, through sin, we put him to death.” 

But Father Daigle’s voice brimmed with excitement as he said Jesus overcame the grave and rose for us. 

“He’s forgiven us of our sins, brothers and sisters, Jesus rose for us,” he said. 

That is the joyful response that people can make to Jesus’ resurrection, according to Father Daigle.

“He rose so we can live,” he said. 

In a scene similar in other churches around the diocese during the Easter Vigil, St. John the Evangelist welcomed five Catechumens into the Catholic faith. 

And, on Sunday, church bells sounded throughout the diocese, welcoming parishioners to Mass while choirs raised their voices in celebration, “Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!”

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Father Peter Nguyen Viet Tan ICM, pastor of Sts. Anthony of Padua Church and Le Van Phung in Baton Rouge, washed the feet of McKenzie Pham during Holy Thursday Mass. Photo by Bonny Van | The Catholic Commentator

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 Father Rick Andrus, pastor of St. Paul Church in Baton Rouge, re-enacted the scene of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples during Mass on Holy Thursday.Photo by Richard Meek | The Catholic Commentator  


The Hispanic Apostolate put on a moving production of the Living Stations of the Cross on Good Friday at St. Pius X Church in Baton Rouge. In this scene Jesus, played by Aristides Alvarez, bows his head and dies after being crucified at Golgotha. Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator

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Bishop Robert W. Muench celebrated the Chrism Mass on March 28 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge. Photo by Richard Meek | The Catholic Commentator

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Father Greg Daigle, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Plaquemine, and Deacon Alfred Ricard light the paschal candle during the Easter Vigil. Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator 

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The altar of St. John the Evangelist Church in Plaquemine is decorated for the Easter Vigil Mass on March 31. It is believed the altar cloth was hand-painted by Sister Scholastica, a Marianite nun who taught third grade at St. Basil’s Academy in Plaquemine in the 1970s. Father Eugene Engels found the cloth when he was assigned to St. John Church in the 1990s and it was recently rediscovered in a drawer in the sacristy by the Ladies Altar Society.  Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator

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A crowd of parishioners from St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Maurepas walked through the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. Photo by Richard Meek | The Catholic Commentator