On this day, when 'Christ our passover was sacrificed', the Church meditates on the Passion of her Lord and Spouse, adores the Cross, commemorates her origin from the side of Christ asleep on the Cross, and intercedes for the whole world.
On this day, in accordance with ancient Tradition, the Church does not celebrate the Eucharist. Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful during the Celebration of the Lord's Passion alone, though it may be brought at any time of the day to the sick who cannot take part in the celebration.
Good Friday is a day of Penance to be observed as of obligation in the whole Church, and indeed through abstinence and fasting.
The order of the celebration of the Lord's Passion (the Liturgy of the Word, the adoration of the Cross, and Holy Communion) that stems from an ancient Tradition of the Church should be observed faithfully and religiously...
The priest wearing red Mass Vestments, and ministers go to the altar. After making reverence to the altar, they prostrate themselves or, according to circumstances, humble themselves on their knees and pray for a while. All other humble themselves on their knees. This act of prostration, which is proper to the rite of the day, should be strictly observed, for it signifies both the abasement of 'earthly man' , and also the grief and sorrow of the Church. Afterwards the priest, from the chair says the opening prayer.
The account of the Passion according to John is read in the same way as on the preceeding Sunday, i.e., there is no incense or candles, and there is no greeting and signs of the cross. (At the end of the Passion narrative the book is not kissed.)
After the reading of the Passion there may be a brief homily.
The General Intercessions, a series of solemn prayers for all classes and needs of the Church and of mankind, conclude the Liturgy of the Word. Christ died for all, and these great petitions, as it were, interpret the mind and heart of Christ as He hung dying on the Cross.
The General Intercessions are to follow the wording and form handed down by ancient Tradition, maintaining the full range of intentions, so as to signify clearly the universal effect of the Passion of Christ, who hung on the Cross for the salvation of the world.
For the veneration of the Cross, let a Cross be used that is of appropriate size and beauty, and let one of the forms for this rite as found in the Roman Missal be followed. The rite should be carried out with the splendor worthy of the mystery of our salvation: both the invitation pronounced at the unveiling of the Cross, and the people's response should be made in song, and a period of respectful silence is to be observed after each act of veneration- the celebrant standing and holding the raised Cross.
After the veneration, the Cross is carried to its place at the altar, and the lighted candles are placed around the altar or near the Cross.
Since the earliest times of the Church, no Mass has been offered on Good Friday. The omission of Mass reflects the deep sorrow the Church has in remembering the sacrifice of her Lord and spouse on the first Good Friday. The simple communion service includes the recitation of the Our Father, the proclamation "This is the Lamb of God...", and then the reception of Holy Communion which was consecrated at the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper.
When communion has been completed, a suitable minister may take the ciborium to a place prepared outside the church. After the priest says the concluding prayer and the prayer over the people, all depart in silence.
The altar is stripped at a convenient time.