Catholic Good Friday Proceedings

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Good Friday is the day the Catholics observe the crucifixion of Jesus and it is an occasion which also celebrates the solemn commemoration of almost all other Christians. The day is known in the whole world as a law holiday, and in their churches each denomination has its own way of honoring and the various meanings of the place of the church. However, the Catholics have a comprehensive service in celebrating Good Friday, which marks the victim of suffering and the road to redemption made by Jesus Christ. Lord’s Passion Service Celebration In a Catholic church setting during Good Friday the church members always meet at three pm which signifies the traditional hour of crucifixion. The service is not necessarily a mass which is the central act of divine for the Catholic Church worship but rather termed as the Lords worship which is a time to remember the happenings of the first Good Friday when Jesus died on the cross. On this day the church does not celebrate the sacraments at all except for the penance and the anointing of the sick. The beginning of the service is through a reading from the bible on the night in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is contemplating on what is going to happen next and the betrayal of Judas which is going to lead to His crucifixion. It is evident that throughout the whole reading the members present remain standing throughout the entire session as a sign of respect. Additionally, there is the occurrence of prayers which help the members present to reflect on what happened to Jesus on that day so that they could be forgiven for the bad things that they have done.

The scripture reading done during the whole session is done by both male and female church faithful while the priest is in charge of the event and its proceedings. Subsequently, after the readings and interpretation by the priest a large wooden cross held up high is brought in and walked from the entrance of the church to the front where an altar server holds it in the altar. At this point, each member walks to the front and make their unique response to Jesus love and forgiveness that He showed on the cross. Each person is expected to kneel or bow and kiss the cross which is termed as the veneration of the cross by Catholics.

The communion bread and wine are brought from the altar of repose for a short service of communion. During this service, one can hear the choir and congregation singing, but there are no bells, flowers nor incense. The altar should be bare as well without clothing, cross or candles. According to Catholics, this is a time to think about the suffering that Jesus went through and everything is very somber. In case any member of the church is not available to take the communion it is distributed to the sick that were not able to make the celebration.

The Lord’s Passion celebration consists of three parts namely, the Liturgy of the Word, the Adoration of the Cross and finally the Holy Communion. As we have seen all through the passages, these events take place in the succession of each other. The Liturgy cannot be celebrated in the absence of the priest, however; their presence is of significance. On that day the priests wear a red gown with white undergarments while other servers who are helping with the celebration wear white garments only. The Deacon as well wears similar red vestments as the priest

Liturgy of the Word

This instance takes place with two readings, the first and the second reading where all sit. The first reading is from the book of the Prophet Isaiah followed by a responsorial psalm. The Response is as follows “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”. The conclusion of the reading is subsequently followed by the second reading from the letter of the Hebrews then a chant before the Gospel. After the verse of the Gospel is read a narrative of the Lord’s Passion according to the book of John is read in the same manner as the past Sunday. At the end of the gospel or proceedings the Deacon and the Priest acclaim the gospel of the Lord and every member of the congregation reply “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ” then he kisses the book while quietly saying that through the words of the Gospel may our sins be wiped away. After the reading, the Priest gives a brief sermon then it concludes. The faithful may be invited to spend a short time in prayer.

The Solemn of Intercessions

This is the conclusion of the Liturgy of Words, and it takes place in a formulaic manner. Either through the presence of Deacon or lay minister, either of the two stands at the ambo and sings or says the invitation in which the intention is expressed. Immediately after every member prays in silence, it is then followed by a hymn or prayer by the priest from the altar. During the whole process, the faithful may remain kneeling or be standing during the entire period of prayers. One notices how the priest stretches his arms when conducting the prayer signifying the inclusion of all the faithful in the prayer. However, before the priest’s prayer and following tradition it is permissible to use the Deacon’s invitations Let us Kneel or Let us stand before everyone kneels for silent prayer. Also, the conferences of Bishops may provide other additional requests to introduce the prayer of the priest. The Diocesan Bishop may permit the addition of a special intention in a situation of grave public need.

The prayers conducted in this whole period are ten in particular and target the different aspect of the church starting with a prayer for the Holy Church which is either sung in a simple tone or solemn tone in case of any invitations. During the whole period, the faithful response is limited to saying Amen.

Adoration of the Holy Cross

This is the second part of the Lord’s Passion service celebration, and with accordance to the pastoral needs, one of the two showings of the Cross is presented here. In the first form the Deacon followed by ministers go to the sacristy from which in a procession accompanied by two ministers with lighted candles he carries the cross covered with a violet veil through the church to the middle of the sanctuary. The priest then standing in front and facing the people receives and uncovers a little of its upper part and elevates it while beginning the Ecce lingum Crucis. He is assisted in singing by the Deacon or the choir. The faithful respond come, let us adore and at the end of the singing all kneel for a brief moment and worship in silence while the priest stands and holds the cross raised.

The second form the Priest or Deacon accompanied by ministers goes to the door of the church where he receives the unveiled cross and ministers take lighted candles then the procession sets to the sanctuary with the one carrying the cross singing and the faithful respond as well as kneeling and a brief moment of silence after every response. The conclusion of the proceeding leads to the cross being taken to the altar together with lighted candles.

The Holy Communion is the concluding proceeding with the Priest first consuming the Body of Christ and distributes it to the faithful. At this point a psalm may be sung then a closing prayer is made and all depart in silence with the altar stripped and the cross and four candlesticks remaining.

Work Cited

Mary, Mother of the Church. "Home - Mary, Mother Of The Church". Mary, Mother of the Church. N.p., 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

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