Good Friday Liturgy

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  This question has come up on a few occasions at the National Liturgical Council meeting as to whether, in the absence of a priest, a deacon or lay-person may lead the Good Friday liturgy.

My understanding would be that because of the special nature of the Good Friday Liturgy (i.e. that it is much more than simply a Liturgy of the Word with Adoration of the Cross and Communion) then only a priest would be able to preside.

Your response to this would be most appreciated.


A:  I answered this briefly on the blog last year: I also treated it in my book Glory in the Cross. Because you are writing from Australia, you will not find the same prohibition in the missal in your church.

Still, there is no tradition behind a deacon or layperson presiding for the Good Friday liturgy. The priest presides, and it is the only occasion when he wears a chasuble at a liturgy that is not mass. I presume that this is because the community enters into the sacrifice of Jesus on that day in a way of commemoration that relates to but is distinct from the eucharist.
If no priest is available, presumably, the liturgy is not celebrated. Other options exist: stations of the cross, evening prayer, devotional exercises such as the seven last words.