Elements of Good Friday Services
No Mass on Good Friday
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter. On Good Friday, Catholics commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, who died to redeem us. There is no mass on Good Friday, but your local parish will hold Good Friday services to remember this tremendous act of love. Attend them with your family.
Good Friday is a somber day in the Christian calendar, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It is a day of fasting, prayer, and reflection for Catholics around the world. On this day, Catholic churches hold special Good Friday services that differ from a regular Mass in significant ways.
One of the most notable differences is the absence of the Eucharistic prayer. While a regular Catholic Mass includes the consecration of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, the Good Friday service does not.
Good Friday Services
Typical elements of the solemn Liturgical Commemoration of Our Lord’s Passion and Death are:
- Reading of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ: The Good Friday service typically includes the reading of the Passion narrative from the Gospel of John, which tells the story of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion. This is often accompanied by a homily or reflection by the priest, who may invite the congregation to reflect on the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice and what it means for their lives.
- Veneration of the cross: This involves the presentation a large crucifix for the congregation to approach and kiss or touch as a sign of reverence. The veneration of the cross is a powerful symbol of the sacrifice that Jesus made on behalf of humanity, and it serves as a reminder of the depth of God’s love for his people.
- A bare altar: The absence of decorations on the altar serves to emphasize the absence of Jesus, who has died and been laid in the tomb. This absence is a powerful reminder of the depth of Jesus’ sacrifice, and it invites Catholics to enter into a spirit of contemplation and reflection on the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
- Distribution of communion: The faithful receive Communion from hosts that were consecrated on Holy Thursday.
- Leaving in silence: In many Catholic churches, it is customary for the congregation to leave in silence at the end of the Good Friday service as a sign of respect and reverence for the solemnity of the occasion. This is meant to allow Catholics to continue their reflections on the sacrifice of Jesus and to carry the spirit of penance and contemplation with them as they leave the church.
Good Friday is the second day of the Triduum, and it marks the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. It is a day of mourning and penance, and Catholics are called to fast, abstain from meat, and refrain from unnecessary activities in order to reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice and to unite themselves more closely to him.
Good Friday is a central part of the Catholic Triduum, which is the three-day period that begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday and concludes with the celebration of Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. The Triduum is considered the most solemn and important time of the liturgical year in the Catholic Church.
Remember that the Triduum is a single event, so take your family to church on Holy Thursday, Good Friday services, and the Easter Vigil to really help your children receive the full impact of this beautiful liturgical celebration.
Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross are a lovely Lenten tradition. It the devotion, we make the journey to Calvary with our Lord Jesus Christ, focusing on how he suffered for us and his interactions with those he met on the way.
Lent and Triduum Cryptogram Puzzle
This printable cryptogram is a fun way to introduce youth to the vocabulary for Lent and Triduum. Each word is encrypted and definitions are given. Youth must consider the definition and then decrypt the word
More Lenten Resources
Lent is a time to answer the call to conversion. Catholics practice self discipline by abstaining from meat on Fridays and making other small sacrifices. On Good Friday, we especially reflect on the Passion of Jesus Christ
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