10 April 2020

You may find it helpful to have a space as a focus for your prayer. This might include a crucifix, icon or another holy image, and a lighted candle.


The liturgy applies to Jesus’s descent into the night of death the words of Psalm 23[24]: “Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, I ancient doors!” The gates of death are closed, no one can return from there. There is no key for those iron doors. But Christ has the key. His Cross opens wide the gates of death, the stern doors. They are barred no longer. His Cross, his radical love, is the key that opens them. The love of the One who, though God, became man in order to die – this love has the power to open those doors. This love is stronger than death.

It is accomplished.

We celebrate the passion and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ died that we might live, and by his wounds we are healed. He transforms the Cross of shame into a symbol of triumph. We join in his sufferings through the giving of our lives to him, knowing that if we die with him we will also rise with him.
We enter our Church in silence. Father approaches the altar, makes reverence, then kneels and prays in silence. We too, all kneel.


Remember your mercies, O Lord, and with your eternal protection sanctify your servants, for whom Christ your Son, by the shedding of his Blood, established the Paschal Mystery. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

First Reading

A reading from the prophet Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12

He was pierced through for our faults.

See, my servant will prosper, he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights. As the crowds were appalled on seeing him – so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human – so will the crowds be astonished at him, and kings stand speechless before him; for they shall see something never told and witness something never heard before: “Who could believe what we have heard, and to whom has the power of the Lord been revealed?” Like a sapling he grew up in front of us, like a root in arid ground. Without beauty, without majesty (we saw him), no looks to attract our eyes; a thing despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, a man to make people screen their faces; he was despised and we took no account of him. And yet our were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried. But we, we thought of him as someone punished, struck by God, and brought low. Yet he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way, and the Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us. Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly, he never opened his mouth, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-house, like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers never opening its mouth. By force and by law he was taken; would anyone plead his cause? Yes, he was torn away from the land of the living; for our faults struck down in death. They gave him a grave with the wicked, a tomb with the rich, though he had done no wrong and there had been no perjury in his mouth. The Lord has been pleased to crush him with suffering. If he offers his life in atonement, he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life and through him what the Lord wishes will be done. His soul’s anguish over he shall see the light and be content. By his sufferings shall my servant justify many, taking their faults on himself. Hence I will grant whole hordes for his tribute, he shall divide the spoil with the mighty, for surrendering himself to death and letting himself be taken for a sinner, while he was bearing the faults of many and praying all the time for the sinners. The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 30:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25. R. Lk 23:46

Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. In you, O Lord, I take refuge. Let me never be put to shame. In your justice, set me free. Into your hands I commend my spirit. It is you who will redeem me, Lord. R. In the face of all my foes I am a reproach, an object of scorn to my neighbours and of fear to my friends. R. Those who see me in the street run far away from me. I am like a dead man, forgotten in men’s hearts, like a thing thrown away. R. But as for me, I trust in you, Lord, I say: “You are my God.” My life is in your hands, deliver me from the hands of those who hate me. R. Let your face shine on your servant. Save me in your love. Be strong, let your heart take courage, all who hope in the Lord. R.

Second Reading

A reading from the letter to the Hebrews 4: 14-16; 5: 7-9

He learnt to obey through suffering and became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.

Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help. During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard. Although he was a Son, he learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation. The word of the Lord.

Gospel Acclamation

Glory and praise to you, O Christ! Christ was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all names. Glory and praise to you, O Christ!


The passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John 18:1 – 19:42

The symbols in the following passion narrative represent: N – Narrator J – Jesus O – Other single speaker C – Crowd, or more than one speaker N Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kedron Valley. There was a garden there, and he went into it with his disciples. Judas the traitor knew the place well, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, and he brought the cohort to this place together with a detachment of guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons. Knowing everything that was going to happen to him, Jesus then came forward and said, J Who are you looking for? N They answered, C Jesus the Nazarene. N He said, J I am he. N Now Judas the traitor was standing among them. When Jesus said, ‘I am he.’, they moved back and fell to the ground. He asked them a second time, J Who are you looking for? N They said, C Jesus the Nazarene. N Jesus replied, J I have told you that I am he. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go. N This was to fulfil the words he has spoken: ‘Not one of those you gave me have I lost.’ Simon Peter, who carried a sword, drew it and wounded the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malcus. Jesus said to Peter, J Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me? N The cohort and its captain and the Jewish guards seized Jesus and bound him. They took him first to Annas, because Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had suggested to the Jews, ‘It is better for one man to die for the people.’ Simon Peter, with another disciple, followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, went with Jesus into the high priest’s palace, but Peter stayed outside the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who was keeping the door and brought Peter in. The maid on duty at the door said to Peter, O Aren’t you another of that man’s disciples? N He answered, O I am not. N Now it was cold and the servants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were standing there warming themselves; so Peter stood there too, warming himself with the others. The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, J I have spoken openly for all the world to hear; I have always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple where all the Jews meet together: I have said nothing in secret. But why ask me? Ask my hearers what I taught: they know what I said. N At these words, one of the guards standing by gave Jesus a slap in the face, saying, O Is that the way to answer the high priest? N Jesus replied, J If there is something wrong in what I said, point it out; but if there is no offence in it, why do you strike me? N Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas, the high priest. As Simon Peter stood there warming himself, someone said to him, O Aren’t you another of his disciples? N He denied it saying, O I am not. N One of the high priest’s servants, a relation of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, O Didn’t I see you in the garden with him? N Again Peter denied it, and at once the cock crew. They then led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium. It was now morning. They did not go into the Praetorium themselves or they would be defiled and unable to eat the passover. So Pilate came outside to them and said, O What charge do you bring against this man? N They replied, C If he were not a criminal, we should not be handing him over to you. N Pilate said, O Take him yourselves, and try him by your own Law. N The Jews answered, C We are not allowed to put a man to death. N This was to fulfil the words Jesus had spoken indicating the way he was going to die. So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him, and asked, O Are you the king of the Jews? N Jesus replied, J Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me? N Pilate answered, O Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done? N Jesus replied, J Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent me being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind. N Pilate said, O So you are the king them? N Jesus answered, J It is you who say it. Yes, I am a king. I was born for this; I came into the world for this; to bear witness to the truth, and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice. N Pilate said, O Truth? What is that? N And with that he went out again to the Jews and said, O I find no case against him. But according to a custom of yours I should release one prisioner at the Passover; would you like me, them, to release the king of the Jews? N At this they shouted: C Not this man, but Barabbas. N Barabbas was a brigand. Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged; and after this, the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him and saying, C Hail, king of the Jews! N and they slapped him in the face. Pilate came outside again and said to them, O Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find to case. N Jesus them came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, O Here is the man. N When they saw him the chief priests and the guards shouted, C Crucify him! Crucify him! N Pilate said, O Take him yourselves and crucify him: I can find no case against him. N The Jews replied, C We have a Law, and according to the Law he ought to die, because he has claimed to be the son of God. N When Pilate heard them say this his fears increased. Re-entering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus, O Where do you come from? N But Jesus made no answer. Pilate then said to him, O Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have the power to release you and I have power to crucify you? N Jesus replied, J You would have no power over me if it had not been given you from above; that is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater guilt. N From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted, C If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar. N Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated himself on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was Passover Preparation Day, about the sixth hour. Pilate said to the Jews, O Here is your king. N They said, C Take him away, take him away. Crucify him! N Pilate said, O Do you want me to crucify your king? N The chief priests answered, C We have no king except Caesar. N So in the end Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out of the city to the place of the skull, or, at it was called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him with two others, one on either side with Jesus in the middle. Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.’ This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was not far from the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate, C You should not write ‘King of the Jews’, but ‘This man said: I am King of the Jews’. N Pilate answered, O What I have written, I have written. N When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares, one for each solider. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one piece from neck to hem; so they said to one another, C Instead of tearing it, let’s throw dice to decide who is to have it. N In this way the words of scripture were fulfilled: They shared out my clothing among them. They cast lots for my clothes. This is exactly what the soldiers did. Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary the Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, J Woman, this is your son. N Then to the disciple he said, J This is your mother. N And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home. After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the scripture perfectly he said: J I am thirsty. N A jar full of vinegar stood there, so putting a sponge soaked in vinegar on a hyssop stick they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said, J It is accomplished; N and bowing his head he gave up the spirit.

At this point, we all kneel and pause for a moment.

N It was Preparation Day, and to prevant the bodies remaining on the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the kegs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found that he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it – trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth – and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture: Not one bone of his will be broken, and again, in another place scripture says: They will look on the one whom they have pierced. After this, Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus – though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews – asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away. Nicodemus came as well – the same one who had first come to Jesus at night – time – and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was near at hand, they laid Jesus there. The Gospel of the Lord.

The Solemn Intercessions

I. For holy Church

Let us pray, dearly beloved, for the holy Church of God, that our God and Lord be pleased to give her peace, to guard her and to unite her throughout the whole world and grant that, leading our life in tranquillity and quiet, we may glorify God the Father almighty.

Silent prayer.

Almighty ever-living God, who in Christ revealed your glory to all the nations, watch over the work of your mercy, that your Church, spread throughout all the world, may persevere with steadfast faith in confessing your name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

II. For the Pope

Let us pray also for our most Holy Father Pope Francis, that out God and Lord, who chose him for the Order of Bishops, may keep him safe and unharmed for the Lord’s holy Church, to govern the holy People of God.

Silent prayer.

Almighty ever-living God, by whose decree all things are founded, look with favour on our prayers and in your kindness protect the Pope chosen for us, that, under him, the Christian people, governed by you their maker, may grow in merit by reason of their faith. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

III. For all order and degrees of the faithful

Let us pray also for our Bishop Patrick Lynch, for all Bishops, Priests, and Deacons of the Church and for the whole of the faithful people.

Silent prayer

Almighty ever-living God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is sanctified and governed, hear our humble prayer for your ministers, that, by the gift of your grace, all may serve you faithfully. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

IV. For catechumens

Let us pray also for catechumens, that our God and Lord may open wide the ears of their inmost hearts and unlock the gates of his mercy, that, having received forgiveness of all their sins through the waters of rebirth, they, too may be one with Christ Jesus our Lord.

Silent prayer.

Almighty ever-living God, who make your Church ever fruitful with new offspring, increase the faith and understanding of catechumens, that, reborn in the font of Baptism, they may be added to the number of your adopted children. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

V. For the unity of Christians

Let us pray also for all our brothers and sisters who believe in Christ, that our God and Lord may be pleased, as they live the truth, to gather them together and keep them in his one Church.

Silent prayer.

Almighty ever-living God, who gather what is scattered and keep together what you have gathered, look kindly on the flock of your Son, that those whom one Baptism has consecrated may be joined together by integrity of faith and united in the bond of charity. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

VI. For the Jewish people

Let us pray also for the Jewish people, to whom the Lord our God spoke first, that he may grant them to advance in love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant.

Silent prayer.

Almighty ever-living God, who bestowed your promises on Abraham and his descendants, graciously hear the prayers of your Church, that the people you first made your own may attain the fullness of redemption. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

VII. For those who do not believe in Christ.

Let us pray also for those who do not believe in Christ, that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, they, too, may enter on the way of salvation.

Silent prayer.

Almighty ever-living God, grant to those who do not confess Christ that, by walking before you with a sincere heart, they may find the truth and that we ourselves, being constant in mutual love and striving to understand more fully the mystery of your life, may be made more perfect witnesses to your love in the world. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

VIII. For those who do not believe in God

Let us pray also for those who do not acknowledge God, that, following what is right in sincerity of heart, they may find the way to God himself.

Silent prayer.

Almighty ever-living God, who created all people to seek you always by desiring you and, by finding you, come to rest, grant we pray, that, despite every harmful obstacle, all may recognise the signs of your fatherly love and the witness of the good works done by those who believe in you, and so in gladness confess you, the one true God and Father of our human race. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

IX. For those in public office

Let us pray also for those in public office, that our God and Lord may direct their minds and hearts according to his will for the true peace and freedom of all.

Silent prayer.

Almighty ever-living God, in whose hand lies every human heart and the rights of peoples, look with favour, we pray, on those who govern with authority over us, that throughout the whole world, the prosperity of peoples, the assurance of peace, and freedom of religion may through your gift be made secure. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

X. For those in tribulation

Let us pray, dearly beloved, to God the Father almighty, that he may cleanse the world of all errors, banish disease, drive out hunger, unlock prisons, loosen fetters, granting to traveller safety, to pilgrims return, health to the sick, and salvation to the dying.

Silent prayer.

Almighty ever-living God, comfort of mourners, strength of all who toil, may the prayers of those who cry out in any tribulation come before you, that all may rejoice, because in their hour of need your mercy was at hand. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Adoration of the Holy Cross

As the Cross is brought from the back of the Church, it is gradually unveiled, and shown three times, as way is made to the Sanctuary. During the Adoration of the Cross, as we approach and venerate the cross, the antiphone ‘We adore you Cross, O Lord’, is said followed by The Reproaches.

Holy Communion

The altar is prepared and Father brings the Blessed Sacrament from the place of repose (Our Lady’s Chapel) to the altar, while we stand in silence. Afterwards, we recite the Lord’s Prayer.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name; they kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


After genuflecting to the Cross, we depart in silence.