This day is known as Good Friday because Christians throughout the world commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus and believe that He gave up his life for the good of everyone. It is the second day of the Easter Triduum.
In the Catholic Church, Good Friday is a day of strict fasting and abstinence. Catholics over the age of 18 and under the age of 60 are required to fast, which means that they can eat only one complete meal and two smaller ones during the day, with no food in between. Catholics who are over the age of 14 are required to refrain from eating any meat, or any food made with meat, on Good Friday.
The Good Friday Service usually begins at 3pm in the afternoon.
The liturgy on this day has three parts: the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross, and the Service of Communion. The service on Good Friday is particularly solemn and there are no flowers or decorations on the main altar. Good Friday is kept as an aliturgical day, that is one on which we do not celebrate Mass. The Eucharist that is received on Good Friday was consecrated a day earlier at the Holy Thursday liturgy. It is one of the few days in the year that Mass in its entirety is not celebrated.
During the Good Friday services there is an opportunity for the Veneration of the Cross which honours the great sacrifice Jesus made for us.
At the end of the Good Friday service people are requested to depart in silence.
The altar is left bare and the lectionary moved to the side.
The Crucifixion is remembered in Jerusalem even today. Large crowds of Christians take the same path as Jesus. In some countries people act out the story of Jesus' last day while others watch and think about the events which happened long ago.
The eight golden mosaic shields on the main altar in St Patrick’s Church show images relating to the Crucifixion of Jesus.
We see the crown of thorns, the hammer and the nails, the whip and the pillar, the hyssop stick , and the spear which pierced the side of Jesus. Featured also is the seamless garment and if you look really closely you can see the dice.
"They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment."
We see these images every time we visit St Patrick’s , but during Holy Week they have a special relevance for everyone.