Friday, April 22, 2011


Today was a beautiful, sunny day.  Last year (while standing in line for confession, no less) I was told about an outdoor Stations of the Cross that takes place every Good Friday at 10 a.m. on some property not too far from where I live.  I went last year and thought it was nice.  This year, my 14 year old grudgingly joined me.

That's my teenager there in the jeans, hanging out with a few guys he knows from school waiting for things to start.  Can't you just see the excitement?
Some of the stations.

 And way, way up at the top of some of the pine you see it??  Crosses!!  My source tells me that some years they are there in abundance!  This year, not so much!

My 15 year old stayed behind, because he planned to serve at the 3:00 Service with his friend.  Then the friend's mom called and told me that he had been in an accident (not serious....pulled /torn muscle type thing), and so with less than 2 hours till crunch time...15 year old was definitely needed.  One of our younger guys showed up and helped him, and both servers did a great job.

Some years, the starkness of the sanctuary startles me on Good Friday.  This year, not really.  It was my third time seeing it, this year.   Everything had been removed on Wednesday before the Tenebrae service.

This service (not Mass!!) starts without a hymn.  Priest and servers enter in silence and kneel (as do we).  It's almost as if it starts where we left off the night before.  Kneeling in silence.  It then progresses somewhat like a regular Mass.  The Passion account from John is read.  There is a homily.  Today's was good.  Good Friday is not a day for sadness or for self-accusation.  It is a day for gratitude and quiet reflection.  It is not a day for revelry.  (Here crawfish boils are very popular on Good Friday.)  Not a time for the "last chance crawfish boil" and acting like pagans.  (Yes, he went there!)  Gratitude is shown by keeping His commandments, self-sacrifice, obedience, choosing to become more like Jesus.  The only way to the cross.  That's the Reader's Digest version.

After the homily, the priest and servers walk to the back of the church.  Then the cross is carried in.  Father carried the cross; the servers carried candles on either side.  At some churches those present venerate the cross by kissing it.  At our church, we venerate by kneeling at our place for a few minutes.  That works just fine for me!  After that, there are prayer intentions for just about every one in the world.  Seriously.  It takes several minutes.

Then the altar servers "dress the altar" (put on the cloth and candles) and a Communion Service follows, using the Eucharist that was consecrated at the Holy Thursday Mass.

There was a song sung to day during Communion.  I can find neither the lyrics or the song, but the refrain was something like, "Lord, make my life an offering to you..."  It was perfect!

 Following Holy Communion, a blessing is prayed over the people, and then all depart in silence.  Still no ending to the liturgy that began on Thursday evening.


  1. We didn't have a homily last night, and the altar wasn't dressed before Communion. We venerate the cross by kissing it; it was emotional last night.
    You're right: it did seem as though Friday's service left off where Thursday's mass ended. I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're absolutely right!
    I was very affected by the empty tabernacle Thursday night...had a bit of a "meltdown" for a few minutes.

  2. Isn't it wonderful that we can freely join in on all the richness available to us during the Triduum? Every year it's more amazing to me, not less.

  3. Just catching up on your last 4 blog posts....I have attended Tenebrae service before. I have yet to make it to a holy Thursday Mass, but you can bet it is on the list now! And I love the "excitement" of your son at the stations :)