Exhausted by all the walking yesterday I slept solidly and got up at 6 to head back over for the Good Friday liturgy–held at 8 am (rather than mid afternoon) for the reasons I described in yesterday’s entry.
The liturgy this morning took place on Mount Calvary. The area is split into two chapels. The site of Jesus being nailed to the cross is controlled by the Franciscans. The other chapel (the site of the crucifixion) by the Greeks. Between them is a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows–on the spot where the Blessed Mother watched her son be killed.
The Liturgy consisted of the same basic outline followed in all Catholic Churches: ministry of the Word including the Passion, intercessions, Veneration of the cross and communion from the pre-sanctified. Everything was sung in Latin. The major difference, of course, was the location: commemorating the death of Our Lord at the very place it happened! Just amazing. Both the Latin and Greek chapels were packed shoulder to shoulder with the Franciscans belting out the Gregorian chant with robust, manly voices. The rest of the church was crowded with the faithful. Pictures on Twitter.
The traditional Way of the Cross–led by Franciscans on Good Friday was cancelled because of the unrest in Jerusalem this week. You can read in the headlines about the troubles between the Jews and Muslims. This was happening today close to where the Stations begin–near the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock. So I trudged home, had a rest and went out later this afternoon to do a private Way of the Cross. I saw quite a few others doing the same…the prayers on their cell phones and paying attention in the midst of the busy, noisy Muslim markets. There are pictures on my Twitter feed.
The Way of the Cross concludes at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, so I paid another visit and finished my prayers there–praying for my own poor soul, for my family, for my parishioners and for all of my readers.
For the final station I joined the line to enter the edicule. You can pray at the very resting place of Jesus. Very powerful!
Speaking of readers, after the liturgy this morning I knelt to venerate the anointing stone and a woman tapped me on the shoulder, “Father Longenecker?”
“I was one of your students on your video course last January.
I nice meeting! She asked for my blessing which was a sweet moment.
Check out this excellent website that shows the historical development of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre