Good Friday is the most Solemn day of the Church year. We commemorate and relive the Passion and death of Jesus and venerate the cross for all its glory.
Musically there is not much to be done on this day. The Roman Missal instructs that the celebration is continuous from the night prior, meaning we haven't left the state of prayer since we started on Thursday night. So this liturgy begins in silence, and the priest lays prostrate at the foot of the altar. Laying down in this fashion shows a deep reverence for the anguish and torture Christ endured and what the priest must be willing to accept in their ministry of the Church.
The first thing that we as the assembly sing is the Psalm, which is Psalm 31. I grew up hearing David Haas' arrangement on Good Friday even though there are many renditions of this psalm. David's rendition is the one my heart sings and after years of him being my mentor I can't help myself in choosing this setting over others. Side note: David himself has finally come to the 21st century with a blog and homepage. Check out his WEBSITE HERE where he has a well-spring of resources for you to enjoy!
To place the Cross for veneration, our men's choir carry it into our space and sing Behold the Wood three times as we move from the entrance to the font, and at last at the foot of the altar. This year with only one Service, the Men have an additional choir to help inspire the singing of the Assembly and I feel this will be a powerful moment for all of us.
As the assembly venerates the Cross, the combined choir will sing, Pieta by Joseph Martin.
The song is rooted in the perception of Mary the Mother of God. The musical elements incorporate drama, and evoke compelling emotion culminating in the phase, "...Mary gently cradles Jesus, through her tears she says,'Good-bye.'" It is near impossible not to empathize with this swell of emotion that surely every parent can imagine.
I feel like those moments at the foot of the cross should bring these elements of baptism and resurrection into profound realization on Good Friday. As we depart in silence to reunite again tomorrow for The Great Easter Vigil, we become more entranced by the Holy Spirit to pray more meaningfully. We move deeper into the meaning of faith, the practice of ritual and the recognizing of history. That is why we celebrate these Holy Days as Triduum and not individual events.
Pray well friends,
*I Put My Life In Your Hands, by David Haas, Recorded, Published, & Copyright ©1993 by GIA Publications, Inc. 7404 South Mason Avenue, Chicago, IL 60638 www.giamusic.com Also available on iTunes.
*Pieta, by Joseph Martin Published under Shawnee Press,
Available for Purchase @ www.sheetmusic.com