UPDATED: On Good Friday, Christ’s Cross is a means and symbol of our salvation

April 8, 2023 at 12:53 a.m.
UPDATED: On Good Friday, Christ’s Cross is a means and symbol of our salvation
UPDATED: On Good Friday, Christ’s Cross is a means and symbol of our salvation

By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor

On Good Friday, Christians throughout the world fix their gaze on the Cross of Christ and strive to understand the sacrifice that Jesus endured in order to bring about our salvation and promise of eternal life.

That desire to understand and appreciate the mystery of love that Jesus Christ showed for his people through his journey to Calvary resonated deeply in the minds and hearts of the parishioners who participated in the solemn commemoration of the Lord’s Passion with Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., April 7.

PHOTO GALLERY: Good Friday in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton

PHOTO GALLERY: Good Friday in St. James Parish, Pennington

PHOTO GALLERY: Good Friday in Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish, Beverly

During the somber liturgy celebrated at noon in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, and 3 p.m. in St. James Church, Pennington, Bishop O’Connell centered his homily on the Cross, the central and widely known symbol of Christianity for more than 2,000 years.

“In a world where little seems permanent, where things come and go easily, where passing fads are commonplace, where so much is considered relative, including the object of our human moral conscience, the fact that a symbol has endured for so long everywhere should convey something to everyone who sees it, even to those who do not believe in Christ or Christianity,” said Bishop O’Connell.
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“The Cross that we behold, the Crucifix that is the central symbol of our faith, held the body of the one whose only crime was that he loved us without condition or reservation and that he was willing to show the depth of his love with the ultimate and absolute sacrifice,” he said.

After the homily, the Solemn Intercessions were prayed. A large, draped Crucifix was brought into church, and incrementally unveiled until the body of Jesus was revealed. Parishioners were then invited to venerate the cross with a kiss, a bow of the head or touching it with their hand.

“Today is a very quiet day, a very sad day” as we think about how Jesus died for us, our sins,” said Cathedral parishioner Lorena Zuniga.

In St. James Church, parishioner and liturgy coordinator Joann Held was inspired by Bishop O’Connell’s homily, especially his description of the Crucifix being “the most powerful reminder of the greatest love the world has ever known: one wooden beam pointing from the earth to the sky, pointing our attention to God; another wooden beam pointing from east to west, pointing our attention to our fellow human beings. And what brings those two wooden beams together is a single body, his body, Jesus Christ, whose life of suffering and transforming love was a life and love for us all: a crucified love that has endured and will continue to endure. A love that turns the wood of the tree of defeat and death, into a tree of life and victory.”

“I’ve never heard the Crucifix described that way,” Held said.

After witnessing the Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion in St. James Church, 10-year-old Sophie Prusan, questioned her parents, Susan and Andy: “Why is such a sad day called Good Friday?”


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On Good Friday, Christians throughout the world fix their gaze on the Cross of Christ and strive to understand the sacrifice that Jesus endured in order to bring about our salvation and promise of eternal life.

That desire to understand and appreciate the mystery of love that Jesus Christ showed for his people through his journey to Calvary resonated deeply in the minds and hearts of the parishioners who participated in the solemn commemoration of the Lord’s Passion with Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., April 7.

PHOTO GALLERY: Good Friday in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton

PHOTO GALLERY: Good Friday in St. James Parish, Pennington

PHOTO GALLERY: Good Friday in Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish, Beverly

During the somber liturgy celebrated at noon in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, and 3 p.m. in St. James Church, Pennington, Bishop O’Connell centered his homily on the Cross, the central and widely known symbol of Christianity for more than 2,000 years.

“In a world where little seems permanent, where things come and go easily, where passing fads are commonplace, where so much is considered relative, including the object of our human moral conscience, the fact that a symbol has endured for so long everywhere should convey something to everyone who sees it, even to those who do not believe in Christ or Christianity,” said Bishop O’Connell.
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“The Cross that we behold, the Crucifix that is the central symbol of our faith, held the body of the one whose only crime was that he loved us without condition or reservation and that he was willing to show the depth of his love with the ultimate and absolute sacrifice,” he said.

After the homily, the Solemn Intercessions were prayed. A large, draped Crucifix was brought into church, and incrementally unveiled until the body of Jesus was revealed. Parishioners were then invited to venerate the cross with a kiss, a bow of the head or touching it with their hand.

“Today is a very quiet day, a very sad day” as we think about how Jesus died for us, our sins,” said Cathedral parishioner Lorena Zuniga.

In St. James Church, parishioner and liturgy coordinator Joann Held was inspired by Bishop O’Connell’s homily, especially his description of the Crucifix being “the most powerful reminder of the greatest love the world has ever known: one wooden beam pointing from the earth to the sky, pointing our attention to God; another wooden beam pointing from east to west, pointing our attention to our fellow human beings. And what brings those two wooden beams together is a single body, his body, Jesus Christ, whose life of suffering and transforming love was a life and love for us all: a crucified love that has endured and will continue to endure. A love that turns the wood of the tree of defeat and death, into a tree of life and victory.”

“I’ve never heard the Crucifix described that way,” Held said.

After witnessing the Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion in St. James Church, 10-year-old Sophie Prusan, questioned her parents, Susan and Andy: “Why is such a sad day called Good Friday?”

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