Friday, April 14, 2017


Good Friday is the day on which the Catholic Church re-lives the Passion, Death and Burial of Jesus Christ in her sacred liturgies.

It is a fast day and the only day of the year on which there are no Masses, meaning that the Eucharist is not consecrated anywhere in the world. Our communion liturgies make use of a surplus of the Blessed Sacrament that was consecrated on the day before and that is not kept within the walls of the Church for the entirety of Good Friday. The only Sacraments allowed on this day are Baptism (for those in danger of death), Penance and Anointing of the Sick.

Holy images in the Church are covered and there are a number of liturgies that commemorate the different aspects of this fast.

The Tre Ore ( or "Three Hours") is a three hour liturgical devotion that meditates on the Passion of Christ.

The Stations of the Cross is an ancient Traditional liturgical meditation in which we meditate on 14 moments during Christ's Passion. It usually utilizes permanent images inside our churches depicting the 14 stations.

Finally there is the Liturgy of the Passion of Our Lord, preferably celebrated at the Holy Hour, that is, 3:00pm, but a later hour can be used. The liturgy resembles that of a Mass, but without the consecration of the Eucharist, and includes the Veneration of the Cross. During this part of the Liturgy, a crucifix is solemnly unveiled and the congregation venerates it individually, often by kissing the feet of the image of Jesus. Afterward there is a communion liturgy in which the Eucharist that was consecrated at the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the evening prior, is distributed. Both the entrance and closing processions of this liturgy are silent.

In these powerful liturgies, the Church has preserved a proper contemplation of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, a suffering to which we are meant to unite our own suffering, so that our pain and our sorrows will have meaning and become part of the very action of God, who became one of us so as to elevate even the shedding of a tear to an experience shared with He in whom being itself finds its subsistence. A death to which we are meant to unite our own death, making the price of sin, paradoxically, worthy of eternal life.