Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Good Friday is the only full day of the year in which the Eucharist is not consecrated and thus there is no mass. All communion services on that day are with previously consecrated hosts (usually from mass on Holy Thursday). Mass is not celebrated again until the Easter Vigil on the Saturday night before Easter. We commemorate the death of the Lord by removing his living body in the Eucharist from its usual place in the tabernacle and not consecrating new hosts again until the Easter Vigil. A good summary of the Eucharistic practices over Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter (what is called the “Easter Triduum” or “Three Days”) was created by the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey (

Let us pray for vocations, especially vocations to the priesthood. Good Friday reminds us that without priests, every day would be a day without the mass, and after a short time every day would be a day without the Eucharist.

The seventeenth-century English poet, George Herbert, wrote a poem about Lent that on this fast day is appropriate. The last stanza of the poem reads:

Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast
By starving sinne and taking such repast,
As may our faults controll:
That ev’ry man may revell at his doore,
Not in his parlour; banquetting the poore,
And among those his soul.

Herbert reminds us that we give up the food which perishes to focus on higher things and to help those who fast because they do not have enough to eat. My family is practicing almsgiving this Lent by donating to Catholic Relief Services’ Operation Rice Bowl ( It has been a good experience in helping to teach our young children (ages 4 and 5) to help those in need. Each week during Lent they received four quarters; two they could save and two they had to donate to the Rice Bowl.

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