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Good Friday

54 Now the centurion and they that were with him watching Jesus, having seen the earthquake, and the things that were done, were sore afraid, saying: Indeed this was the Son of God.

Good Friday is the Friday of Holy Week, the week leading to Easter Sunday. It is the day that commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. Good Friday also falls into the Paschal Triduum. The date of Good Friday does change on the year and is a legal holiday in many places throughout the world, including several US states.

The title of Good Friday comes from the original meaning of good - originally good meant pious or Holy. The use of the word good in this manner, for example, can be found in titles such as the Good Book or good tide (Christmas). The Old English word for this day was originally "Long Friday" - langa frigedaeg. Until 1955, the Roman Catholic church used the Latin title Feria sexta in Parasceve (Friday of Preperation for the Sabbath). This title was renamed Feria sexta in Passione et Morte Domini (Friday of the Passion and Death of the Lord) in 1955 and shortened in 1970 to Feria sexta in Pasione Domini (Friday of the Passion of the Lord).

In the Roman Catholic Church, Good Friday and Holy Saturday form two days of the Paschal fast. Traditionally there is no Mass celebrated between Holy Thursday's Last Supper Mass and the Easter Vigil (unless a solemn or grave rare occasion is granted by the Bishop or Pope). The only two Sacraments celebrated are the Anointing of the Sick and Baptism (for those in danger of the sick). When the Mass of the Last Supper is concluded, the candle sticks, altar cloths, and any crosses are removed from the Altar, leaving it completely bare. No bells are rung on Good Friday or Holy Saturday.

The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord takes place traditionally at the hours of Christ's death - 3 PM, though it can now be found at earlier or later times depending on the location. The Good Friday Liturgy is split into three parts - the Liturgy of the Word, Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion (Eucharist consecrated the day prior). In the Liturgy of the Word, the clergy enter into the church in silence with no hymns or singing before prostrating themselves (symbolizing both the fall of man and the sorrow of the Church). The collect is read, followed by Isaiah 52:13-53:2, Hebrews 4:14-16, and the Gospel of John Passion account. The orationes sollemnes immediately follows (the Great Intercessions). The Veneration or Adoration of the Cross then begins which is displayed to the congregation. Traditionally, members of the congregation would venerate the cross one at a time by kissing the wood. Before the reforms in 1955, only the priest received the Communion of Consecrated Eucharist from the day before. After this, the clergy and laity depart the church in silence and the altar cloth removed.

In addition to the liturgy, many Churches also pray the Stations of the Cross in a prayer service between midday to 3 PM - the three hours of Agony. Since Saint John Paul II's papacy, the Pope has lead the faithful through meditations of the Cross from the heights of the Temple of Venus and Roma while the cross is carried to the Colosseum. Specific prayers and devotions are advised on Good Friday and are known as the acts of reparation for the sufferings and insults Jesus bared during his passion. Saint Pope John Paul II referred to Acts of Reparation as:

"unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified"

In Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Cuba, and Hong Kong, Good Friday is a public holiday with most businesses and schools closed. In Ireland, alcohol sales were banned until 2018 on Good Friday, with a ban still operating until 5PM in Northern Ireland. In the United Kingdom, Good Friday is recognized as an official public holiday (Bank Holiday) with all schools closed and most businesses (except retail) also closed. The BBC introduces it's 7AM news cast on Radio 4 with a verse from the hymn When I survey the Wonderous Cross.

In the United States, Good Friday is not a recognized public holiday. The states of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas do observe Good Friday as a state holiday however, with all government buildings closed.

Matthew 27:32-56

32 And going out, they found a man of Cyrene, named Simon: him they forced to take up his cross.

33 And they came to the place that is called Golgotha, which is the place of Calvary.

34 And they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall. And when he had tasted, he would not drink.

35 And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: They divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.

36 And they sat and watched him.

37 And they put over his head his cause written: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

38 Then were crucified with him two thieves: one on the right hand, and one on the left.

39 And they that passed by, blasphemed him, wagging their heads,

40 And saying: Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days dost rebuild it: save thy own self: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

41 In like manner also the chief priests, with the scribes and ancients, mocking, said:

42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

43 He trusted in God; let him now deliver him if he will have him; for he said: I am the Son of God.

44 And the selfsame thing the thieves also, that were crucified with him, reproached him with.

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over the whole earth, until the ninth hour.

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

47 And some that stood there and heard, said: This man calleth Elias.

48 And immediately one of them running took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar; and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.

49 And the others said: Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to deliver him.

50 And Jesus again crying with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

51 And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent.

52 And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose,

53 And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city, and appeared to many.

54 Now the centurion and they that were with him watching Jesus, having seen the earthquake, and the things that were done, were sore afraid, saying: Indeed this was the Son of God.

55 And there were there many women afar off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:

56 Among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

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