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Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death

News of the Diocese

April 15, 2022

Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death
Solemn Good Friday liturgy focuses on Jesus’ suffering, death

Bishop Edward Malesic, the clergy and servers entered the sanctuary of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist silently as the 3 p.m. Celebration of the Passion of the Lord began on Good Friday, the only day when Mass is not celebrated. It was the second liturgy in the sacred paschal triduum, a continuous three-day liturgy that began on Holy Thursday and ends on Easter. (See photo gallery above.)

As they approached the altar -- which had been stripped of the altar cloth and all candles removed after the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper -- the bishop laid on the floor, prostrate, for a few minutes, while the others knelt in silent prayer.

The bishop then moved to the cathedra as the liturgy began – similar to a Mass – with two readings, a psalm, acclamation and a Gospel – the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, according to John. Deacons John Sferry and Matt Lawler read portions of the Passion with the bishop.

Father Sean Ralph, cathedral rector, was the homilist.

He reflected on Jesus’ role in the body of the Church, serving as its head. He also talked about how, like the liver filters toxins from the body, “Jesus went to the cross, taking all that is sinful and dark, what leads to spiritual death.”

He said Jesus took all the human darkness, and dysfunction and it was nailed with him to the cross.

“That’s why the Church calls it ‘Good Friday.’ Today, the power of sin and death is broken forever. They have no more power over us,” Father Ralph explained. He said later in the liturgy, the cross will be venerated, reminding us that “Nothing can stand between us and the victory that Jesus won today. What we do today reminds us that all we need to do is reach out to the cross and the power of God’s mercy will reach us.”

Father Ralph said we do this in prayer and every time we receive the sacraments “We reach out and touch Calvary.”

He continued, “We cannot save ourselves. We cannot forgive ourselves. We cannot bind our own wounds, but Jesus can. Jesus wants us to approach the cross with all our dysfunction and sin and he will free us. By dying, he has given life to the body (Church).”

The liturgy continued with a series of chanted intercessions in which the faithful prayed for the pope, the bishop, catechumens, believers, those who are baptized, the Jewish people, those who don’t believe in Christ, those who don’t acknowledge God, those of other faiths, those in public office, for an end to hunger, safety for travelers, a return for pilgrims, health for the sick, salvation for the dying and peace, especially in Ukraine.

Servers moved to the back of the cathedral to process in with a large, heavy, wooden cross. They stopped in three places as they moved up the main aisle to show the cross before it was placed in a stand at the cross aisle. Members of the clergy venerated the cross and the faithful were invited to do the same, during one of the most moving parts of the liturgy. Some knelt briefly and made the Sign of the Cross while others touched the cross or kissed it, after which servers wiped it clean.

The Lord’s Prayer was recited and holy Communion was distributed, using hosts that had been consecrated the previous night during the Holy Thursday liturgy.

Then, Bishop Malesic offered a prayer over the people and the liturgy ended -- silently, as it had begun.

The triduum will resume with the Easter Vigil at 8:30 p.m. on Holy Saturday. It will be livestreamed on the diocesan website, as all the Holy Week liturgies have been. The liturgies are archived and can be viewed on demand.

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