Triduum history

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  I hope you will consider answering my inquiries even though I generally root for the Chicago White Sox.

I am a deacon ordained for Chicago. I have an interest in history but unfortunately a senior memory.

Here is what I know:

  1. There was a major change in Triduum Services permitted in 1951 and required in 1956. These included moving the three major services from the morning to the afternoon or evening. On Thursday I believe Footwashing was added but no concelebration yet. Friday’s Mass of the Presanctified gave way to a similar service at which all could receive communion. Saturday had many changes including the elimination of the triple candle, 12 OT readings became 4, and the service concluded with Lauds not Vespers. I have Missals for both sets of service.
  2. Some time in the 60’s the Easter Vigil was changed I believe more than once. The major change here was 4 OT readings became 7 OT readings with a minimum of 3 required.
    1. There was a time when we had the Gloria before the entire Liturgy of the Words (before Genesis reading)
    2. There was a time when Lauds was still at the end of the service; then it was dropped.

So here are my questions:

  1. In what year did the rite with 7 OT readings first appear?
  2. Was this the same time that adult initiations appear in the rite and were those initiations after the homily as they are today?
  3. Assuming the Gloria was before Genesis in this rite, when did the Gloria return to before the Epistle?
  4. At some time the Gloria was moved to the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word (after Exsultet, before Genesis) and then move back to where it is now. Do you know the dates of these two movements?
  5. When was “shortened Lauds” removed from the rite?

I have spent countless hours researching this (where else – google) and your book is the best I could find but didn’t answer these points. Quick answers (with the years) would be fine and anything else you know would be great.

With regard to the Royals and Sox, may the best team win.


A:  Thanks for referencing my book Glory in the Cross. It prompts me to be charitable in my response to a fan of the Chicago White Sox.

  1. The Easter Vigil assumed its present format with the sacramentary (missal) and lectionary of 1969 / 1970. Seven Old Testament readings appeared then.
  2. Room for adult initiations appeared at the same time, but the RCIA came out in 1972, and the current English translation appeared in 1988.
  3. The pre-Vatican II liturgy considered the Easter Vigil Mass to be in two distinct parts: the Vigil and the Mass. The Old Testament readings were part of the Vigil that preceded the baptisms. After the baptisms (renewal of promises) came the collect and Gloria of the Vigil Mass. Then readings from Colossians and Matthew. So the Gloria came before the epistle even before Vatican II.
  4. From what I can tell, the Gloria was never to be sung before Genesis. Doesn’t mean somebody didn’t do it, of course.
  5. The shortened lauds are still part of the 1962 missal, the last one before the Council. They were removed in 1969 / 1970.