Following a shortened opening procession conducted in silence, Bishop David P. Talley began the Good Friday celebration of the Passion of Our Lord (pictures below) by making a reverence at the altar and then laying prostrate in a sign of sorrow for Jesus’ death on the cross and humility to the will of God. The large gathering at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception knelt in silence.

From the earliest days of Christianity, no Mass has been celebrated on Good Friday, the only day of the year on which that occurs. Instead, the faithful gather for a special liturgy focusing on the cross to commemorate the saving passion, crucifixion, and death of Jesus.

The Good Friday service was a grace-filled experience combining times of quiet and sometimes silent prayer with solemn musical accompaniment. The liturgy took place in three parts: Liturgy of the Word, Adoration of the Cross, and the distribution of holy Communion.

For the Liturgy of the Word, the Passion of the Lord was proclaimed, recalling Jesus’ death on the cross at Calvary. The faithful at the Cathedral also joined Catholics around the world in praying for the same 11 intentions: for the holy Church, for the pope, for all orders and degrees of the faithful, for catechumens (those preparing to enter the Church), for the unity of Christians, for Jewish people, for those who do not believe in Christ, for those who do not believe in God, for those in public office, for those in tribulation (the sick, the hungry, the imprisoned, the traveling, and the dying), and for the victims of abuse.

For the Adoration of the Cross, a large cross was carried up the center aisle to the front of the church.  “Behold the wood of the cross, on which hung the salvation of the world,” was sung each of the three times the cross was elevated, with the third time being at the front of the sanctuary.  “Come, let us adore,” responded the congregation each time.

Led by Bishop Talley, all present then came forward for adoration of the cross, some kissing the cross, others touching it, genuflecting before it, or gazing at it and praying silently. The cross is venerated as a remembrance of Christ who offered his life for the forgiveness of every person’s sins and for the salvation of the world.

The hosts used during the distribution of holy Communion on Good Friday had been consecrated during the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the cathedral. The cathedral’s tabernacle remained empty until the Easter vigil, and the altar was also stripped.

Just as they had arrived, the celebrants and assembly departed in silence on Friday, awaiting the joy of Easter.

The Sacred Triduum (Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Good Friday, and the Resurrection on Easter) are the holiest days of the year for Christians and celebrate the forgiveness of all sins for humanity and the gift of everlasting life to all believers.

Pictures and videos from many Masses, services, and events throughout Holy Week will be posted here on the diocesan website.


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