Good Friday – The word good originated from the word “goode” which means holy. This day we gather for a service (not Mass) known liturgically as “Friday of the Passion of the Lord.” Communion received at this service was consecrated on Holy Thursday: the Blessed Sacrament that was taken to the “altar of repose.” On this day is read once again the Passion narrative, always from the Gospel of John.
Laying Prostrate - Good Friday service begins in silence as the priest, deacon(s) and servers enter and lay prostrate on the floor in front of the altar. This is an act of homage and adoration to the Lord. There is no need for a “gathering song” as the Good Friday service is seen as an extension of the Mass from Holy Thursday. Following the silent entry and prostration is the Liturgy of the Word – the Readings, Responsorial Psalm and the Gospel, just as at a Mass. Following the homily:
The Ten Solemn Intercessions – These prayers are one of the oldest liturgical rituals we have – for centuries the people of the Church have shared in public prayer. The priest invites us to pray, stating what we are praying for, we respond in silence (and reflection), which is then followed with a prayer by the presider to which we respond Amen (I believe). In these prayers, we ask for God’s grace to address the needs of all people. Immediately following the intercessions all are invited to take part in:
Veneration or Adoration of the Cross – A cross is now carried into Church as the priest states three times, “This is the wood of the cross, on which hung the Savior of the world.” We answer, “Come, let us worship.” The cross is then placed or held where all can access it and the people come forward in procession to genuflect, bow, kiss or touch the cross as a sign of reverence for this symbol of our salvation.
Following veneration we receive the Body of Christ in Communion. There is no cup as there is no consecration. The service on Good Friday ends in silence (no bells or organ) as we await the celebration of new life at the Easter Vigil. It is even suggested that people use a soft voice when speaking to one another. This would be an excellent time to silence TVs, radios and electronic devices as a sign of reverence for how Jesus died for us. We will next gather as a People of God at the Easter Vigil.
Easter Vigil – This is the most important liturgical celebration of the Catholic Church! We begin in darkness – our world is dark without Jesus. New light is then introduced in the way of an enclosed fire at the entry of the Church. Here at St.
Francis Xavier all are invited into the Gathering Place
to take part in the procession of new light. As each
person is gifted light for the candle they hold, our
world becomes bright – This is the Light of Jesus Christ!
Easter or Paschal Candle – Every Catholic Church blesses a large, beautifully decorated candle which becomes what we know as the “Christ Light” for their parish. This Light stands as a symbol of Jesus – The Light of the World. The priest proclaims; “Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, all time belongs to Him and all the ages, to him be glory and power through every age and forever.” It is from this candle that the newly baptized will be gifted with The Light of Christ.
Again, Good Friday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, yet it is an invitation to walk with Jesus to the Cross; the Cross that symbolizes the gift of our salvation!
Come, bring your family, give homage.
With hope in the Resurrection,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC