Good Friday

Good Friday is the second day of the Easter Triduum and the day that Catholics and other Christians throughout the world commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus. According to Mark 15:42 Jesus died “on the day of preparation, the day before the sabbath.” The Hebrew Sabbath is celebrated on Saturday which is preceded by Friday. Therefore the Friday before Easter (the day that we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead) is traditionally marked as the day Jesus died on the cross.

Why don’t we celebrate Mass on Good Friday?

The Good Friday liturgy has three parts: the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross, and the Service of Communion.

The Mass itself is the unbloody re-presentation of Jesus’ death on the cross at Calvary. The priest, and victim of the sacrifice are the same person, Jesus, at both Calvary and every Mass. From the earliest days, Good Friday has been 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.

During Good Friday services you might see Catholics go up to the front of the church and bow before or even kiss a cross. This act is called Veneration of the Cross and in which Catholics honor the great sacrifice Jesus made on the cross.

At the end of the Good Friday service the ministers and assembly depart in silence.

Good Friday is also a day of fasting and abstinence (from meat).

16 thoughts on “Good Friday”

  1. Stephanie Barto

    What do Catholics not do during the early mass or prayers service on Good Friday, that they normally do during other masses? My son needs to to know this for school, due to a doctors appointment we could not attend the mass

    1. Mark Thomas Duggan

      it is not correct to call the Good Friday service a Mass – it is the commemoration of the death of Christ on the Cross. We don’t genuflect as we enter church because the Blessed Sacrament is not present in the tabernacle, in fact the tabernacle is usually left wide open.

  2. Good Friday is a most holy day of the church year. I am trying to teach my son its importance and others are saying it is not a holy day of obligation. What would you say so he sees the value and importance of good Friday.

  3. When we were children in the 1950’s/1960’s I don’t recall Holy Communion being distributed on Good Friday & Holy Saturday. Am I correct? If so, when did it become part of the Good Friday Service?

  4. Thank you for the information in this article’ I have found it very helpful, my family is Roman Catholic and I would like send a ‘Good Friday’ Payer to my closest friends and family members.. May someone point me in the right direction or paste in the reply button.

    Thank you for reading this and being so helpful, may God bless you and your family now and forever.

  5. My Missal indicates that Good Friday services must NOT be celebrated in the absence of a priest. Is this true?

  6. Are we, catholics allowed to have fun or even sing a song on Good friday? It’s that my birthday is on April 3 which is Good Friday. Thank you!

    1. I would change the day of the party. Good Friday is not a day to have a party, it is a time to think about how Jesus died on the cross for us, which is technically mourning.

  7. I’m Roman Catholic but I’m confused why Good Friday is not on the same month? What is really the basis?

    1. About Catholics

      Good Friday is the Friday preceding Easter. The Easter date is set as the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon which is the first Ecclesiastical Full Moon after March 20.

  8. You state Good Friday is the first day of the Triduum – does the Holy Triduum not begin with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, and the Passion with his agony on the garden?

    1. I appreciate the correction. I have no idea how I let that one slip through. It has been updated. Thanks!

      1. Technically Good Friday is the first day of the Easter Triduum, because in Jewish tradition, the day begins after sunset (i.e. in the evening). So the liturgy of Holy Thursday is the evening with which Good Friday begins.
        Day 1 – Holy Thursday (evening) / Good Friday
        Day 2 – Holy Saturday
        Day 3 – Easter Sunday

        1. I have been Catholic my whole life and was always taught that the Triduum consists of the following services:
          Day 1: Holy Thursday
          Day 2: Good Friday
          Day 3: Easter Vigil (Saturday evening)
          Just like we Catholics celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday, Saturday is the anticipatory mass for Sunday. Therefore, Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil) is not Day 2, it is Day 3, since it is the first celebration of Easter.

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