Good Friday

Good Friday is the commemoration of the crucifixion and death of our Lord and is the second of the Triduum sacrum services. Good Friday has been described as a “paschal fast,” just as Easter day is the paschal feast. It should be viewed as a great day of penitential preparation for Easter.

Mass is never actually said on Good Friday; instead, Holy Communion is given in the course of the Solemn Liturgy from the Blessed Sacrament reserved for this purpose.

There is no crucifer for this service. As wine is not offered at Holy Communion, there are no chalicists for this service.

Note to greeters and ushers: This service begins in silent, solemn prayer. Should congregants enter after the procession, please keep greetings and instructions to a whisper to preserve the solemnity of the service.

Service Preparations

High Altar

The altar is bare, without cloths, cross, or candlesticks. The aumbry doors are open and the curtain pushed aside.

Necessary leaflets, hymnals, and prayer books may be placed in the sedilia for the sacred ministers.

A large wooden cross is placed on the footpace, over the dove mosaic.

A folded fair linen should be placed on the credence, along with the black burse containing a folded corporal.


Clergy are attired in black cassock, surplice, and black tippet or preaching scarf, unadorned.

The choir is attired in black cassock and surplice. All other servers are attired in black cassock and surplice. The lectors do not vest.


Incense is offered only at the Transport of the Blessed Sacrament from the Altar of Repose to the high altar. No incense is carried during the entering procession or at any other time during the service.

Other Notes

The large prie-dieu is placed in the crossing for the Solemn Collects.

Entering Procession

The procession enters from the side door, near the baptistery. There is no processional cross and acolytes do not carry torches or candlesticks. The Gospel book is not carried in procession.

The verger leads the procession, which moves in silence. The thurifer and acolytes process behind the choir, ahead of the minister of ceremonies. All servers move from the procession to the rear row of the choir stalls on the Gospel side. The minister of ceremonies should be seated at the end of the stall closest to the altar. The sacred ministers break off at the top of the quire steps and move into their places in the choir stalls - celebrant in the first seat, second row of the Gospel side, deacon in the first seat, second row of the Epistle side, and subdeacon first seat, back row of the Gospel side.

All kneel in silence.

After silence is kept, the celebrant speaks the collect of the day.

All are seated.

The service proceeds with the readings (read by lay lectors) and the Psalm (sung by the choir).

The Passion

There is no procession. During the sequence hymn, the gospeller with the Gospel book moves to a location in view of the people. The customary Gospel responses are omitted at this service.

The gospeller begins the Passion standing and all others are seated. All remain seated for the reading, then stand at words, “So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.”

All remain standing, then kneel at the words, “Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

All remain kneeling for a time and then stand as the gospeller continues with the words, “Since it was the day of Preparation…”

The gospeller returns to his/her seat without ceremony.


The verger does not escort the preacher for this service.


While the choir sings the anthem, the acolytes retrieve the fair linen from the credence and spread it on the altar.

The Solemn Collects

All kneel. The celebrant leads the Solemn Collects.

The Solemn Veneration of the Holy Cross

At the conclusion of the Solemn Collects, the celebrant says the words, “Behold the Wood of the Cross, whereon was hung the world’s Salvation” three times.

The people are invited forward to make their veneration to the cross, beginning with the altar party, then the choir, and then the congregation. The choir sings the reproaches until all who desire have made their venerations.

The thurifer should ensure that the thurible is lit and ready for the Transport of the Blessed Sacrament.

Confession of Sin and Lord’s Prayer

At the conclusion of the Venerations, the sacred ministers proceed from the sedilia to their places on the pavement facing the altar, and then ascend to the footpace. Kneeling, the Confession and Absolution and the Lord’s Prayer are said. Other altar servers are kneeling at the sides of the altar as well. The people kneel.

The Mass of the Presanctified

During the anthem, sacred ministers descend to the footpace, where the thurifer presents the thurible to have the celebrant lay on incense. No blessing is offered.

After incense is laid on, with the celebrant leading, the celebrant and thurifer move to the Altar of Repose, going through the chapel gate.

Upon arriving at the Altar of Repose, the celebrant and thurifer move to the pavement and genuflect. The thurifer hands the thurible to the celebrant, who incenses the Blessed Sacrament and hands the thurible back to the thurifer.

The celebrant picks up the ciborium, then processes out of the chapel (thurifer following), past the eagle lectern, through the choir, and to the altar. The celebrant ascends to the footpace and places the ciborium on the corporal. The thurifer hands the thurible to the celebrant, who censes the Blessed Sacrament again; the thurifer exits. The other servers and sacred ministers take their places around the altar on the pavement as they would for Holy Communion.

The celebrant speaks the invitation to communion. The altar party receives first, followed by the choir, and then the congregation.

The choir sings the anthem and leads the congregation in the hymn.

The corporal is folded and placed in the burse, and the burse and ciborium are removed to the credence.

Note: After the service has concluded, all remaining consecrated host must be consumed. It is not reserved.

Solemn Prayer Over the People

All kneel. Standing on the footpace, the celebrant prays over the people.


With the verger leading and in the same order as the entering procession, the retiring procession moves in silence through the baptistery door.