Diocesan News

Jesus’s Passion and Compassion Remembered on Good Friday

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, held during the afternoon of Good Friday, commemorates the Crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary.

The Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion traditionally consists of reading the Passion (which was the Passion according to St. John this year), the reading of universal prayers and petitions, and the Adoration of the Cross.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio — who celebrated the Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James on April 2 — emphasized how the story of Jesus’s death is one of both passion and compassion.

“The Passion account tells us that the one who saw Him truly understood that, somehow, He was the son of God,” Bishop DiMarzio said in reference to Jesus during his homily. “Jesus had compassion for us in his passion.”

“Today, we cannot forget that we, too, need to be passionate [and] have a passion for our faith in Jesus Christ. And then, at the same time, have compassion for our fellow men and women,” the bishop continued. “This Passion account gives us much to meditate on … because we need to have a passion for our relationship with God, which then spills over into compassion we have for others.”

  • Clergy members prostrate themselves before the altar on Good Friday, April 2, 2021. (Photos: Erin DeGregorio)
  • Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio slowly removes part of the purple cloth covering the large wooden cross.
  • Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio first uncovers the upper part of the cross, the right arm and then the entire cross. Each time he sings "Behold the wood of the cross…"
  • Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the faithful could not venerate the cross with a touch or kiss.


Though the Eucharist’s consecration is not performed on Good Friday, the clergy can distribute communion consecrated on Holy Thursday. Bishop DiMarzio explained this is the only time of year this occurs and how it is an ancient Church tradition that commemorates Christ’s time in the tomb.

Before services held on Good Friday, churches’ altars were bare, without cloths and candles. Statues around some churches were also veiled in purple cloth to heighten the focus on the Passion and suffering of Jesus Christ.

Elina Cruz, who has been a parishioner of the Cathedral Basilica of St. James for the last 18 years, said she always attends the Good Friday service — even if that means taking some time off from work.

“Good Friday, I think, is the epiphany of who we are as Christians,” Cruz said while sitting towards the front of the cathedral. “It’s the reason why we’re here; it’s the reason why we’re alive, it’s the reason why we get to live life — thanks to that sacrifice that Jesus made for us.”

Bayside resident Charles Lee, who serves as a lector at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James, said he joined the parish two years ago. This year was his first time attending any Good Friday service.

“Hopefully, from seeing what goes on today, I’ll be able to experience and gain something that I had never thought about,” Lee said before the service began on April 2.

“And, hopefully, that’ll be meaningful to me for the days to come.”