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Catholic Dictionary




Friday in Holy Week, anniversary of Christ's death on the Cross, and a day of fast and abstinence from the earliest Christian times. Black vestments were worn by the priest and Mass was not offered, except what was called the Mass of the Presanctified. A host consecrated the day before was consumed by the priest alone, although viaticum was permitted to the faithful. In the new liturgy, since the Second Vatican Council, the ceremonies consist of a reading of the Gospel according to St. John, special prayers for the Church and the people of all classes of society, the veneration of the Cross, and a Communion service at which all may receive the Eucharist. The Solemn Liturgical Action is to take place between noon and 9 P.M. Good Friday remains the only day in the year on which Mass is not celebrated in the Roman Rite.