PORTLAND---Following an opening procession conducted in silence, Bishop Robert P. Deeley began the Good Friday celebration of the Passion of Our Lord (additional pictures below) by making a reverence at the altar and then laying prostrate in a sign of sorrow for Jesus’ death on the cross and humility to the will of God. The large gathering at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception knelt in silence.
From the earliest days of Christianity, no Mass has been celebrated on Good Friday, the only day of the year on which that occurs. Instead, the faithful gather for a special liturgy focusing on the cross to commemorate the saving passion, crucifixion, and death of Jesus.
“Despite this somber tone, Good Friday is not just a day of mourning, it is a commemoration, a thanksgiving for the infinite love God has shown the world through his son’s Passion,” said Fr. Gregory P. Dube, rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland and pastor of the other Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes, who served as the homilist.
The Good Friday service was a grace-filled experience combining times of quiet and sometimes silent prayer with solemn musical accompaniment.
The Good Friday liturgy takes place in three parts: the Liturgy of the Word, Adoration of the Cross, and the distribution of holy Communion. For the Liturgy of the Word, the Passion of the Lord was proclaimed, recalling Jesus' death on the cross at Calvary.
“We cannot forget that Jesus told his disciples, which includes us, his present-day disciples, to take up our cross and follow him,” said Fr. Dube. “Throughout our lives we bear many different crosses and many different sufferings, but it is when we join our sufferings with Christ’s own suffering and, when we join our cross to his own cross, that we can begin to make some sense of our cross, our sufferings, our struggles, our difficulties, and know that we are not alone in these trials.”
The faithful at the Cathedral also joined Catholics around the world in praying for the same ten intentions: for the holy Church, for the Pope, for all orders and degrees of the faithful, for catechumens (those preparing to enter the Church), for the unity of Christians, for Jewish people, for those who do not believe in Christ, for those who do not believe in God, for those in public office, and for those in tribulation (the sick, the hungry, the imprisoned, the traveling, and the dying).
For the Adoration of the Cross, a large cross was carried up the center aisle to the front of the church by altar servers and Deacon Anthony Cipolle, a diocesan seminarian who is expected to be ordained to the priesthood this year.
“Behold the wood of the cross, on which hung the salvation of the world,” Deacon Anthony sung each of the three times the cross was elevated, with the third time being at the front of the sanctuary.
Led by Bishop Deeley, all present then came forward for adoration of the cross, some kissing the cross, others touching it, genuflecting before it, or gazing at it and praying silently. The cross is venerated as a remembrance of Christ who offered his life for the forgiveness of every person's sins and for the salvation of the world. Following the adoration of the cross, rose petals were scattered around the foot it, symbolic of the spattered blood of Christ.
The hosts used during the distribution of holy Communion on Good Friday had been consecrated during the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Cathedral.
A special collection, also held across the nation in many other Catholic churches, was held at the Cathedral for the preservation of the sacred sites of the Holy Land.
The Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes (Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Portland; Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Parish, Portland; St. Christopher Parish, Peaks Island; St. Louis Parish, Portland; St. Peter Parish, Portland) have the most culturally diverse congregations in the diocese, with many refugees and immigrants having found a Church home there. Reflecting that diversity, some readings and hymns were presented in English, Spanish, Polish, French, and other languages during Holy Week to represent the diversity. During Masses and services at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception this week, the choir is also comprised of singers from the different parishes.
The Cathedral's tabernacle will remain empty until the Easter vigil. The altar was also stripped at the end of the service. Only the cross remained.
“May abundant blessing, O Lord, we pray, descend upon your people who have honored the death of your son in the hope of their resurrection. May pardon come, comfort be given, holy faith increase, and everlasting redemption be made secure,” prayed Bishop Deeley at the end of the service.
Just as they had arrived, the celebrants and assembly departed in silence, awaiting the joy of Easter.
In addition to the pictures from Good Friday below, pictures and videos from many Masses and services throughout Holy Week will be posted here on the diocesan website and diocesan Facebook page.
A special Holy Week section is also available on the diocesan website that includes listings of Masses, services, and other events at parishes; daily prayers and reflections; and many other resources.