What Happens at Good Friday for Catholics?

Updated April 17, 2017

The Friday of the week before Easter is called Good Friday. This is a day when Christians worldwide recognise Jesus Christ's suffering, crucifixion and death. Most Christian denominations have their own traditions on this day, depending on their convictions. For Catholics, Good Friday is the day when those who practice Catholicism give their complete attention to the cross of Christ.

Good Friday for Catholics

On Good Friday, Catholic schools and universities are normally closed, so that practicing Catholics can try to appreciate and comprehend the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross for His people. Many Catholic families attend Good Friday services at their local church. Some businesses, private institutions and financial and financial markets are also closed on Good Friday.


On Good Friday, Catholics are supposed to fast. For the purposes of this celebration, fasting is partaking in only one full meal on Good Friday. Besides this full meal, Catholics are allowed to eat a small amount of food during breakfast or at night. In addition to fasting on Good Friday, all Catholics 14 years old and older are obliged to abstain from meat. According to the Eternal Word Television Network website, sick people, nursing women, children and those who have valid health conditions are not obliged to abide by this rule.

Adoration of the Cross

Adoration of the cross of Jesus Christ simply means that Catholics worship and admire what the cross stands for. Catholics give their utmost respect and tribute to the cross of Jesus by kneeling before it and kissing it. According to Catholic Online, Catholics affirm their action by saying, "We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee because by Thy Holy Cross Thou has redeemed the World."

Mass of the Pre-Sanctified

Attending a local Catholic Church and singing and preaching about the Passion-- the events and suffering leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as detailed in St. John's Gospel-- is an annual Good Friday tradition that takes place during the "Mass of the Pre-Sanctified." During this special Mass, the congregation normally takes turns reading passages of St. John's Gospel. In addition, during the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified, the Stations of the Cross, the 14 events which occurred before and after the death of Jesus Christ, are commemorated.

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About the Author

Mike Jones is an Atlanta native who has been writing professionally since 2000. He has written a number of entertainment, health and how-to articles for online publications such as eHow and Answerbag. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Regent University.