Special Devotions

donate Books CDs HOME updates search contact

Ceremonies of Holy Week









































Good Friday - Common Liturgy


Good Friday is the most solemn day of the liturgical year. Our Lord has already suffered the Agony in the Garden and has been apprehended by the servants of the chief priests. Now it is time for Him to suffer further, bearing insults and mockery from the Jews before being handed over to the secular authority of the Roman government.

Our Lord stands before Pontius Pilate, giving testimony to the Truth, but Pilate, "seeing that nothing can quell the tumult, and that his honor as governor is at stake," (1) delivers Christ to be tortured and executed.

Our Lord walks to Calvary while enduring beatings from his executioners and mockery from the crowds. Our Lady, St. John and the other Holy Women follow Him on the Way of the Cross. He falls three times. After reaching the top of Golgotha, he is nailed to the cross and spends hours in agony. He dies, delivering up His spirit.

Dom Guéranger closes his commentary on Good Friday with these words: "Oh! What a bond of love between us and Thee must result from this sacrifice of Thy life for us! Thou hast died, Oh Jesus, for us: We must, henceforth, live for Thee. We promise it upon this tomb, which – alas! – is the handiwork of our sins. We, too wish to die to sin, and live to grace...

"Thy death, dearest Jesus, has made our death become but a passing into life: and as we now leave Thy Holy Sepulchre with the certain hope of speedily seeing Thee glorious in Thy Resurrection; so, when our body descends into the tomb, our soul shall confidently mount up to Thee, and there blissfully await the day of the resurrection of the flesh made pure by the humiliation of the grave." (2)

*

The following guide for Good Friday is the common liturgy that laypeople normally attended prior to the progressivist reforms of the '50s and '60s. Sources used and cross-checked were the The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger, the 1934 edition of the Liber Usualis (book of chants), and the 1945 St. Andrew Missal. For the complete monastic liturgy, click here.

Hyperlinks are shown in blue to provide the music that ideally accompanies the ceremonies.


  1. Dom Guéranger, The Liturgical Year, Loreto Publications, 2000, vol. 6, p. 460.
  2. Ibid., p. 515.


burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes


The Service

The Good Friday Service uses black vestments, and consists of four parts: the lessons, the prayers, the veneration of the cross, and the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified. Good Friday permits no consecration, so the Host must be preserved from the day before. "The altar is stripped; the cross is covered with a black veil; the candles are of yellow wax; everything in the sanctuary bespeaks of mournfulness".

After None, the celebrant and his ministers approach the altar, prostrate themselves, and pray in silence. Then they rise and begin the lessons.

The Lessons
The following lessons are prophetic passages from the Old Testament and the Passion according to St. John.

Lesson
(Osee, Chap, 6)
Haec dicit Dominus...

Tract
Domine, audivi...
Versicle symbol. In medio duorum...
Versicle symbol. In eo, dum...
Versicle symbol. Deus a Libano...
Versicle symbol. Operuit coelos...

Deacon: Flectamus genua.
Subdeacon: Levate.

Collect
Deus, a quo et Judas...

Lesson
(Exod. Chap. 12)

In diebus illis: Dixit Dominus ad Moysen...

Tract
Eripe me, Domine...
Versicle symbol. Qui cogitaverunt...
Versicle symbol. Acuerunt linguas...
Versicle symbol. Custodi me, Domine...
Versicle symbol. Qui cogitaverunt...
Versicle symbol. Et funes extenderunt...
Versicle symbol. Dixi Domino...
Versicle symbol. Domine, Domine, virtus...
Versicle symbol. Ne tradas me...
Versicle symbol. Caput circuitus eorum...
Versicle symbol. Verumtamen justi...

The Passion




Listen to the Gospel of the Passion (chant), interpreted by Nova Schola Gregoriana


Passio Domini nostri Jesu...
(Ch. 18. and 19)
In illo tempore: Egressus est Jesus...
...Et inclinato capite, tradidit spiritum..

Here a pause is made, as on Palm Sunday. All kneel and, if it is the custom, prostrate themselves and kiss the ground.

Judaei ergo (quoniam Parasceve erat)...

Here the deacon kneels at the foot of the altar and prays in silence.

Post haec autem rogavit...

Prayers
Oremus, dilectissimi nobis...

Oremus.
Deacon: Flectamus genua.
Subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriam...
Response symbol. Amen.
Oremus et pro beatissimo...

Oremus.
Deacon: Flectamus genua.
Subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, cujus judicio...
Response symbol. Amen.
Oremus et pro omnibus...

Oremus.
Deacon: Flectamus genua.
Subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, cujus Spiritu totum...
Response symbol. Amen.

The following prayer had in view the Emperor of the Holy Roman German Empire, and was omitted in countries not subject to Austria.

Oremus et pro Christianissimo imperatore...

Oremus.
Deacon: Flectamus genua.
Subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, in cujus manu...
Response symbol. Amen.
Oremus et pro catechumenis...

Oremus.
Deacon: Flectamus genua.
Subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Ecclesiam...
Response symbol. Amen.
Oremus, dilectissimi nobis...

Oremus.
Deacon: Flectamus genua.
Subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, moestorum consolatio...
Response symbol. Amen.
Oremus et pro haereticis...

Oremus.
Deacon: Flectamus genua.
Subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui salvas...
Response symbol. Amen.
Oremus et pro perfidis Judaeis...

At this moment the Church prays for the Jews, but does not invite the faithful to kneel as she does for the other prayers. This is to remember that the Jews kneeled in mockery of Our Lord during His Passion, turning an act of adoration into an act of mockery.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui etiam Judaicam perfidiam...
Response symbol. Amen.
Oremus et pro paganis...

Oremus.
Deacon: Flectamus genua.
Subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui non mortem...

The Veneration of the Cross

The celebrant takes off the chasuble, faces the people and receives the Cross from the deacon. The celebrant then unveils the upper part of the arms of the Crucifix, raising it up and singing:

Ecce lignum crucis: in quo salus mundi pependit.

Choir: Venite, adoremus.

The priest unveils the right arm of the Crucifix, singing:

Ecce lignum crucis: in quo salus mundi pependit.

Choir: Venite adoremus.

The priest then moves to the middle of the altar, unveiling the entire Crucifix and singing:

Ecce lignum crucis: in quo salus mundi pependit.

The people kneel while the choir sings: Venite, adoremus.

The 'Improperia' or 'Reproaches'

Popule Meus

Crucem tuam adoramus...
Ps. Deus misereatur
Crucem tuam...

Hymn
Crux Fidelis

Towards the end of the adoration of the Cross the candles are lit, and the deacon spreads a corporal upon the altar, for the Blessed Sacrament to be placed there. When the faithful have finished their adoration, the priest replaces the Cross over the altar.

Mass of the Presanctified

After the adoration of the Cross, the priest incenses the Sacred Host on the altar that has been preserved since Maundy Thursday. Following this adoration, the priest takes the Holy Offering in his hands. The clergy hold lighted tapers and accompany the priest on a procession where they sing in honor of the Cross.

Hymn
Vexilla Regis Prodeunt

The priest incenses the offerings and the altar.

Incensum istud, a te beneidctum...
Accendat in nobis...
In spiritu humilitatis...
Orate fratres...

Pater Noster...

Libera nos, quaesumus...

Here the priest raises the Body of Christ to be adored by the faithful.

Domine, non sum dignus...
Domine, non sum dignus...
Domine, non sum dignus...

The priest now receives Communion.

Quod ore sumpsismus...

End of Good Friday


burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes


Back to Holy Week Page


Maundy Thursday - Common Liturgy - Monastic Liturgy


Holy Saturday - Common Liturgy - Monastic Liturgy


burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes


Home








































Special Devotions  |  Religious  |  Home  |  Books  |  CDs  |  Search  |  Contact Us  |  Donate

Tradition in Action
© 2002-   Tradition in Action, Inc.    All Rights Reserved