These three days, known as the Easter Triduum, celebrate Christ's triumph over death with His resurrection from the grave on Easter.
On Holy Thursday, Jesus' washing of the disciples' feet is re-enacted in many churches and the Lord's Supper is celebrated.
On Fridays during the season of Lent, Catholics gather to pray the Stations of the Cross, following Jesus' footsteps from the time He is condemned to death until He is laid in the tomb.
On Good Friday, the reading of the Passion of Christ is followed by the Prayers of the Faithful, Communion and the Veneration of the Cross. Kneeling before the cross is a time for silent reflection on the sacrifice Christ made for all sinners.
At the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, the Easter candle is lit. Multiple Old Testament readings show God's mercy and love for His people throughout time.
The Gospel reading tells of the empty tomb of Christ, found by His disciples on the third day after his crucifixion and death.
The Stations from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Leavenworth, Kan. are reflected in these photos. You will find the Stations of the Cross on display in Catholic churches throughout the world, a reminder of Christ's sacrifice and death.
Easter is a joyous time, but there would be no victory without the suffering and sacrifice of Christ on Good Friday. Follow along with the Stations of the Cross, walking in Christ's footsteps on Good Friday.
1st Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death
At each station, the leader proclaims, "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You." All respond,"Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world."
Listen as the high priest asks Jesus if he is the Christ, the Son of God. At Jesus' response, He is sentenced to death.
2nd Station: Jesus Carries His Cross
Pilate introduces Jesus to the crowd as their king, asking if they want Jesus to be freed. The crowd responds, "Crucify Him!" Pilate washes his hands and hands Jesus over to the crowd and Jesus takes up His cross to begin the journey.
3rd Station: Jesus Falls the First Time
Jesus' cross is heavy and He is weak. Nobody is helping Him and He stumbles and falls for the first time. The soldiers beat Him and tell Him to get up. We recall how our sins caused pain to others as Jesus continues His journey.
4th Station: Jesus Meets His Holy Mother
We can only imagine the pain Mary endured, seeing her beloved son in pain. As Jesus meets His mother, standing with her friends and Jesus' disciple, He says to Mary, "Woman, behold your son." To His disciple, Jesus says, "Behold, your mother." Even during this dark time, Jesus provides for His mother's care.
5th Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry His Cross
Jesus is mocked and shamed by his tormentors along the way to His death. Seeing His weakened state, a bystander, Simon of Cyrene, is forced by the soldiers to help Jesus carry His cross.
6th Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
As Jesus passes by, a woman named Veronica comes out from the crowd to wipe His face. As she wipes the blood and sweat away, the cloth is imprinted with the face of Jesus, a sign to the crowd that Jesus is truly the Son of God.
7th Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time
Even though Simon helps Jesus with the cross, the weight is tremendous and He falls a second time. We reflect on how the weight of our sins causes Jesus to fall with the cross upon His back.
8th Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
As Jesus travels the Way of the Cross, He is met by the women of Jerusalem, who are weeping and lamenting. Jesus comforts the women, telling them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and your children."
9th Station: Jesus Falls a Third Time
Jesus continues on the path to His death, then falls a third time. The weight of the cross, which represents our sins. is the cause of Jesus' third fall. Again, He is forced to rise and continue.
10th Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
The soldiers strip Jesus of his garments and cast dies for His cloak to fulfill what was prophesized. The crowd mocks Jesus, telling Him to perform a miracle for them to see.
11th Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
When they came to Golgotha, the place called the Skull, the soldiers crucified Jesus and the robbers, one on his right and the other on his left. Jesus forgives the sinners by saying, "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."
12th Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross
Darkness falls over the whole land. After crying out to His Father, Jesus says, "It is finished. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." Then, bowing his head, He dies.
13th Station: Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross
The soldiers saw that Jesus was already dead, so they didn't break His legs. One soldier pierced Jesus' side with a lance. Blood and water poured out from the wound. Joseph of Arimathea asks for permission to take Jesus' body to be buried.
14th Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
Those who crucified Jesus thought the story would end when Jesus was placed in the tomb. A large stone was rolled across the opening to prevent Jesus' disciples from taking away His body.