Cardinal Wuerl Marks Good Friday

Friday, April 18, 2014

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington presided over the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion today at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. The Friday before Easter, commonly known as Good Friday, marks the betrayal of Jesus Christ by Judas, Jesus’s condemnation to death and his suffering and death on the cross.

Cardinal Wuerl began his homily by referencing Pope Francis, “One of my favorite statements of Pope Francis that I often repeat both for my own benefit and those who are listening are his words: ‘God never tires of forgiving us. We sometimes get tired of asking for forgiveness.’” He went on to explain St. Paul’s letter to the Romans and the human condition, asking, “Why is it that we have the best of intentions, sincerely make resolutions, firmly renew our aspirations, sometimes every day, and then allow the worst in us to come out?”

“Today the Church brings us to the foot of the cross. We know that in spite of ourselves and everything we do there is a loving forgiveness,” said the Cardinal. “We come to the foot of the cross because we recognize what Jesus endured for us. We realize the possibility of our redemption. In spite of our failures, our sins, our weakness, Jesus not only loves us, but he hung on the cross for us. He shed his blood unto death for each of us. Now, today, he invites us, as he always has, to come to his cross and see in it our salvation, our forgiveness, our newness.”

“What makes it possible for us to see beyond the ruined body of Jesus of Nazareth nailed to the cross to the reality of our redemption and salvation is our faith,” said the Cardinal. “This is the same faith that tells us that God never tires of forgiving us even if we get tired of asking for forgiveness. None of us should ever be hesitant to ask the Lord for both the faith to believe in his love and the forgiveness that this love offers us.”

“When we come today to the cross and reverence it with love and faith, let us quietly repeat in our hearts a simple yet sincere, ‘Thank You, Lord Jesus,’” the Cardinal concluded. Following the homily, the Cardinal led the Veneration of the Cross, during which all in the pews came forward to reverence the cross in a tradition dating back to the late 4th century when St. Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine, discovered a fragment of wood believed to be from Christ’s cross on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The Good Friday liturgy is not a Mass since it does not include the consecration, but there is the distribution of Holy Communion. Hosts that were consecrated at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday were distributed. On Holy Saturday as the Church reflects on Christ’s Passion and Death, Mass is not celebrated until the Easter Vigil Mass in the evening when Christ’s Resurrection is celebrated.


The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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