Today was spent in a rather busy tone. I’m not sure if it follows my Catholic beliefs, but I’m pretty sure I am honoring a mother, one of the Ten Commandments given by God, when I do my duties today.
We are having some renovations done on our house. First, was because of security. Then, it turned out, we needed some repairs and a storage room done too.
I am left only with one kid today. The 2 boys are with their grandmother, busy bonding. The first part of the day was spent with silent cries for missing the hubby and my baby boys. The rest was for errands and chores for the “elders”. I am actually enjoying being a full time mom now. I have enough time for the kids (except for the 2nd one, who’s been with her grandmother since the hubby left). I accompany my eldest to a singing workshop 3 times a week. I still take care of the little girl 80-85% of the day. So yes, I am fulfilled. I have a few bouts of loneliness, I won’t deny it. But I am content with what I have. Financial issues here and there, but God has always provided. My family was never really hungry. We have a house to live in. Life is good.
So, where does Good Friday take me? I spend some of it watching television where they feature lives of different people and how God has made a difference in each. I have my own testimony of how God has been really good to me. He may have knocked on my door a few times, just to tell me I have more important things I need to prioritize and he may have done it too to keep my feet on the ground. A humbling and fruitful experience.
I find myself gloomy at times, but at the end of the day, I still remember to let God be God. He has never failed me. I may think otherwise some of the time, but when I assess these days like now, I realize, He has never really forsaken me. I was the one who has forgotten.
With all the day’s reflection, it is a good friday, indeed.
How’d you spend yours?
In the Roman Catholic Church
Day of Fasting
The Catholic Church treats Good Friday as a fast day, which in the Latin Rite of the Church is understood as having only one full meal (but smaller than a regular meal) and two collations (a smaller repast, two of which together do not equal one full meal) and on which the faithful abstain from eating meat. In countries where Good Friday is not a day of rest from work, the afternoon liturgical service is usually put off until a few hours after the recommended time of 3 p.m.
Services on the day
The Latin Rite ordinarily has no celebration of Mass between the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening and the Easter Vigil unless a special exemption is granted for rare solemn or grave occasions by the Vatican or the local bishop. The only sacraments celebrated during this time are Baptism (for those in danger of death), Penance, and Anointing of the Sick. While there is no celebration of the Eucharist, it is distributed to the faithful only in the Service of the Passion of the Lord, but can also be taken at any hour to the sick who are unable to attend this service. During this period crosses, candlesticks, and altar cloths are removed from the altar which remains completely bare. It is also customary to empty the holy waterfonts in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil. Traditionally, no bells are rung on Good Friday or Holy Saturday until the Easter Vigil.
The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord takes place in the afternoon, ideally at three o’clock, but for pastoral reasons a later hour may be chosen. The vestments used are red (more commonly) or black (more traditionally). Before 1970, vestments were black except for the Communion part of the rite when violet was used. Before 1955 black was used throughout. If a bishop or abbotcelebrates, he wears a plain mitre (mitra simplex).
- The Liturgy of the Word, consists of the clergy and assisting ministers entering in complete silence, without any singing. They then silently make a full prostration, “[signifying] both the abasement of ‘earthly man,’ and also the grief and sorrow of the Church.” Then follows the Collect prayer, and the reading or chanting of Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9, and the Passionaccount from the Gospel of John, traditionally divided between three deacons, yet often divided between the celebrant and more than one singer or reader. This part of the liturgy concludes with theorationes sollemnes, a series of prayers for the Church, the Pope, the clergy and laity of the Church, those preparing for baptism, the unity of Christians, the Jewish people, those who do not believe in Christ, those who do not believe in God, those in public office, those in special need. After each prayer intention, the deacon calls the faithful to kneel for a short period of private prayer; the celebrant then sums up the prayer intention with a Collect-style prayer.
- The Veneration of the Cross, has a crucifix, not necessarily the one that is normally on or near the altar at other times, solemnly displayed to the congregation and then venerated by them, individually if possible and usually by kissing the wood of the cross, while hymns and the Improperia (“Reproaches”) with the Trisagion hymn are chanted.
- Holy Communion is done according to a rite based on that of the final part of Mass, beginning with the Our Father, but omitting the ceremony of “Breaking of the Bread” and its related chant, the “Agnus Dei“. The Eucharist, consecrated at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday is distributed at this service. Before the reform of Pope Pius XII, only the priest received Communion in the framework of what was called the “Mass of the Presanctified“, which included the usual Offertory prayers, with the placing of wine in the chalice, but which omitted the Canon of the Mass. The priest and people then depart in silence, and the altar cloth is removed, leaving the altar bare except for the cross and two or four candlesticks.
Stations of the Cross
In addition to the prescribed liturgical service, the Stations of the Cross are often prayed either in the church or outside, and a prayer service may be held from midday to 3.00 p.m., known as theThree Hours’ Agony. In countries such as Malta, Italy, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Spain, processions with statues representing the Passion of Christ are held.
In Rome, since the papacy of His Holiness John Paul II, the heights of the Temple of Venus and Roma and their position opposite the main entrance to the Colosseum have been used to good effect as a public address platform. This may be seen in the photograph below where a red capopy has been erected to shelter the Pope as well as an illuminated cross, on the occasion of the Way of the Cross ceremony. The Pope, either personally or through a representative, leads the faithful through meditations on the stations of the cross while a cross is carried from there to the Colosseum.
In Polish churches, a tableau of Christ’s Tomb is unveiled in the sanctuary. Many of the faithful spend long hours into the night grieving at the Tomb, where it is customary to kiss the wounds on the Lord’s body. A life-size figure of Christ lying in his tomb is widely visited by the faithful, especially on Holy Saturday. The tableaux may include flowers, candles, figures of angels standing watch, and the three crosses atop Mt Calvary, and much more. Each parish strives to come up with the most artistically and religiously evocative arrangement in which the Blessed Sacrament, draped in a filmy veil, is prominently displayed.
Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ
The Roman Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation for the sufferings and insults that Jesus suffered during his Passion on Good Friday. These Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ do not involve a petition for a living or deceased beneficiary, but aim to repair the sins against Jesus. Some such prayers are provided in the Raccolta Catholic prayer book (approved by a Decree of 1854, and published by the Holy See in 1898) which also includes prayers as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary.
In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor on reparations, Pope Pius XI called Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ a duty for Catholics and referred to them as “some sort of compensation to be rendered for the injury” with respect to the sufferings of Jesus.
The Holy Week commemorations reach their peak on Good Friday as the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the passion of Jesus. Solemn celebrations take place in all churches together with processions in different villages around Malta and Gozo. During the celebration, the narrative of the passion is read in some localities. The Adoration of the Cross follows. Good Friday processions take place in Birgu, Bormla, Ghaxaq, Luqa, Mosta, Naxxar, Paola, Qormi, Rabat, Senglea, Valletta, Żebbuġ (Città Rohan) andŻejtun. Processions in Gozo will be in Nadur, Victoria (St. George and Cathedral), Xaghra and Żebbuġ, Gozo.
In predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines, the day is commemorated with street processions, the Way of the Cross, the chanting of the Pasyon, and the staging of theSenakulo, a Passion play. Church bells are not rung and Masses are not celebrated. In some communities, (most notably in the island province of Marinduque or in the San Fernando, Pampanga), processions include devotees who practise mortification of the flesh. They engage in self-flagellation and sometimes even have themselves crucified as expressions of penance despite health issues and strong disapproval from the Church.
After three o’clock in the afternoon of Good Friday (the time at which Jesus is traditionally believed to have died), the faithful are urged to keep a very solemn and prayerful disposition until EasterSunday. Noise and merriment is highly discouraged, while businesses close, and some radio and television stations close down.
Other television networks remain on-air but give way to special religious programming, like movies on the lives of Christ and the Saints or inspirational dramas. Some tie-up with the communications arms of religious orders like the SVD, theJesuits, and the Dominicans to provide telecasts of the day’s rites live from Catholic churches. These events usually include the reading of the Siete Palabrás, the recitation of the Stations of the Cross, and the Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion.
Good Friday Calendar:
2011 = April 22
2012 = April 6
2013 = March 29
2014 = April 18
2015 = April 3