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You are here: Rubrics & Law > Customs > Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts  Back one page.

Table of Contents
Table of ContentsIV. Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord's SupperVI. Holy SaturdayEndnotes

V. Good Friday

58. On this day, when "Christ our passover was sacrificed," [63] the Church mediates on the passion of her Lord and Spouse, adores the cross, commemorates her origin from the side of Christ asleep on the cross, and intercedes for the salvation of the whole world.

59. On this day, in accordance with ancient tradition, the Church does not celebrate the Eucharist: Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful during the celebration of the Lord's passion alone, though it may be brought at any time of the day to the sick who cannot take part in the celebration. [64]

60. Good Friday is a day of penance to be observed as an obligation in the whole Church, and indeed, through abstinence and fasting. [65]

61. All celebration of the sacraments on this day is strictly prohibited, except for the sacraments of penance and anointing of the sick. [66] Funerals are to be celebrated without singing, music, or the tolling of bells.

62. It is recommended that on this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer, be celebrated with the participation of the people in the churches (cf. n. 40).

63. The celebration of the Lord's passion is to take place in the afternoon, at about three o'clock. For pastoral reasons, an appropriate time will be chosen in order to allow the people to assemble more easily, for example, shortly after midday or in the late evening, however not later than nine o'clock. [67]

64. The order for the celebration of the Lord's passion (the liturgy of the word, the adoration of the cross, and Holy Communion) that stems from an ancient tradition of the Church should be observed faithfully and religiously and may not be changed by anyone on his own initiative.

65. The priest and ministers proceed to the altar in silence, without any singing. If any words of introduction are to be said, they should be pronounced before the ministers enter.

The priest and ministers make a reverence to the altar, prostrating themselves. This act of prostration, which is proper to the rite of the day, should be strictly observed for it signifies both the abasement of "earthly man," [68] and also the grief and sorrow of the Church.

As the ministers enter, the faithful should be standing, and thereafter should kneel in silent prayer.

66. The readings are to be read in their entirety. The responsorial psalm and the chant before the gospel are to be sung in the usual manner. The narrative of the Lord's passion according to John is sung or read in the way prescribed for the previous Sunday (cf. n. 33). After the reading of the passion, a homily should be given, at the end of which the faithful may be invited to spend a short time in meditation. [69]

67. The general intercessions are to follow the wording and form handed down by ancient tradition, maintaining the full range of intentions, so as to signify clearly the universal effect of the passion of Christ, who hung on the cross for the salvation of the whole world. In case of grave public necessity, the local ordinary may permit or prescribe the adding of special intentions. [70]

In this event, it is permitted to the priest to select from the prayers of the Missal those intentions more appropriate to local circumstances, in such a way, however, that the series follows the rule for general intercessions. [61]

68. For veneration of the cross, let a cross be used that is of appropriate size and beauty, and let one or other of the forms for this rite be carried out with the splendor worthy of the mystery of our salvation. Both the invitation pronounced at the unveiling of the cross and the people's response should be made in song, and a period of respectful silence is to be observed after each act of veneration, with the celebrant standing and holding the raised cross.

69. The cross is to be presented to each of the faithful individually for their adoration, since the personal adoration of the cross is a most important feature in this celebration. Only when necessitated by the large numbers of faithful present should the rite of veneration be made simultaneously by all present. [72]

Only one cross should be used for the veneration, as this contributes to the full symbolism of the rite. During the veneration of the cross, the antiphons, "Reproaches," and hymns should be sung so that the history of salvation be commemorated through song. [73] Other appropriate songs may also be sung (cf n. 42).

70. The priest sings the invitation to the Lord's Prayer, which is then sung by all. The sign of peace is not exchanged. The communion rite is as described in the Missal.

During the distribution of communion, Psalm 21 or another suitable song may be sung. When communion has been distributed, the pyx is taken to a place prepared for it outside of the church.

71. After the celebration, the altar is stripped; the cross remains, however with four candles. An appropriate place (for example, the chapel of repose used for reservation of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday) can be prepared within the church, and there the Lord's cross is placed so that the faithful may venerate and kiss it and spend some time in meditation.

72. Devotions, such as the Way of the Cross, processions of the passion, and commemorations of the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary are not, for pastoral reasons, to be neglected. The texts and songs used, however, should be adapted to the spirit of the liturgy of this day. Such devotions should be assigned to a time of day that makes it quite clear that the liturgical celebration, by its very nature, far surpasses them in importance. [74]

Table of ContentsIV. Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord's SupperVI. Holy SaturdayEndnotes

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You are here: Rubrics & Law > Customs > Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts  Back one page.

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All contents © copyright, 1998-2014
The Catholic Liturgical Library
http://www.catholicliturgy.com