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Good Friday

Customary of Grace Church


1.   The altar is completely bare (except that the base for the crucifix stands in front of the empty tabernacle).

2.   A crucifix and two candlesticks are placed in the narthex.  (Music for the Ecce lignum is pasted to the back of the cross)

3.   A step stool is placed near the bishop’s chair, out of sight.

4.   On the credence are placed:

  • A cruet of water

  • The chalice and paten, with purificator and corporal

  • The Altar Service Book on its stand

  • The altar cloth, folded toward the center so that it can easily be spread.

5.   A humeral veil is placed over the rail in All Saints’ Chapel.

6.   The ministers vest in red, as for the mass.

Entrance Rite

1.   The ministers enter in silence, in the following order:

  • Candlebearers (two abreast, without candles)

  • Two extra servers

  • Readers

  • M.C.

  • Assisting priest

  • Celebrant


2.   The candlebearers, servers, and readers bow to the altar and go to their usual places.

3.   On ascending the chancel steps, the M.C. moves to the left and the assisting priest to the right.  The celebrant stands between them.  The three kneel, and when they do, all kneel.

4.   After a period of silent prayer, they rise, and all rise with them.  They go to their places.

5.   The M.C. holds the book, and the celebrant sings the collect.

Liturgy of the Word

1.   All is done as usual up to the end of the second reading.

2.   There is no Gospel procession.  During the motet that follows the second reading, the cantors go to the ambo to sing the Passion.

3.   During the Passion all kneel at the words, “He bowed his head and yielded up his spirit.”

4.   After the sermon, the assisting priest goes to the ambo to sing the biddings and Solemn Collects.  The celebrant, at his chair, sings the collects.  The M.C. holds the book.

Veneration of the Cross

1.   At the conclusion of the Solemn Collects the M.C. leads the candlebearers, the servers, and the assisting priest down the south aisle to the narthex.

2.   Preceded by the M.C., flanked by the candlebearers, and followed by the servers, the assisting priest, holding the crucifix, enters the church.

3.   The procession pauses at the entrance to the nave, and the assisting priest sings, “Behold the wood of the cross...”  All genuflect and respond, “O come, let us worship.”  (The M.C. turns toward the cross.)

4.   The procession pauses half way up the nave.  The assisting priest sings, “Behold the wood...” at a higher pitch, and all is done as before.

5.   When the procession reaches the chancel step:

  • The M.C. moves to the left (to direct traffic)

  • The assisting priest and candlebearers go to the top of the steps and turn west.

  • The servers remain on the floor, facing east

6.   The assisting priest sings “Behold the wood...” a third time at a still higher pitch.  All genuflect and respond.

7.   The servers go up to the second step and receive the cross from the assisting priest, who goes to his place.

8.   The candlebearers go down to the second step and stand beside the servers, facing the cross.

9.   The M.C. places a cushion on the lowest step, in front of the cross.

10. One by one the ministers approach the cross to venerate:

  • The celebrant

  • The assisting priest

  • The readers

Approaching the cross from the west, they kneel on the cushion and kiss the feet of the Crucified.  Then they return to their places and sit.

11. The people then approach to venerate.  The M.C. venerates last.

12.  When the veneration has ended, the assisting priest, descending from his stall to the floor of the nave, approaches the cross from the west and receives it from the servers.

13. The procession moves to the altar in the following order:

  • The M.C.

  • The candlebearers

  • The servers

  • The assisting priest, carrying the cross.[1]


14. The M.C. bows to the altar and goes to the north side of the altar to get the stepstool.

15. The servers, after bowing to the altar, part and go to the north and south sides, where they stand facing one another.

16. The candlebearers put their candles on the re-table (close to the center), part, and descend to the north and south sides, where they stand beside the servers.

17. The assisting priest waits outside the rails until the candlebearers have descended to the pavement, then he goes up to the altar.

18. Meanwhile, the M.C. ascends the steps on the north side, bringing the stepstool.

19. The assisting priest places the cross in its base and, using the stepstool, sets it on top of the (empty) tabernacle.  The M.C. removes the stepstool and waits at the north side.

20. The assisting priest descends to the pavement, where he stands facing east until the end of the hymn.  The candlebearers approach and stand beside him (at his right and left). All remain in place until the conclusion of the hymn, Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle.


Holy Communion

1.   At the conclusion of the hymn, the candlebearers and assisting priest go to the repository (All Saints’ Chapel). 

2.   As soon as they leave, the servers spread the altar cloth.  The server on the south side takes the cloth from the credence.  When he ascends the steps, the server on the north side also ascends.  After they have spread the cloth, they both go to their usual places on the south side.

3.   The M.C., meanwhile, goes to the credence.  He places the book and the vessels on the altar, spreads the corporal, and descends to the pavement on the north side.

4.   Meanwhile, in the chapel[2]

  • The candlebearers, on reaching the rails, part and allow the assisting priest to pass between them.

  • When the assisting priest arrives at the chapel altar, all three genuflect

  • The candlebearers, taking the humeral veil from the rail, place it over the assisting priest’s shoulders

  • The candlebearers take the candles from the chapel altar, and passing behind the assisting priest, move outside the rails.

  • The assisting priest takes the sacrament from the chapel altar

  • The candlebearers lead the assisting priest to the high altar (by way of the north transept)


5.   The candlebearers ascend the steps, place their candles on the re-table (outside the candles already there).  They remain standing until the assisting priest has placed the sacrament on the altar.

6.   When the candlebearers have put their candles in place, the assisting priest ascends the steps and places the sacrament on the altar.

7.   The candlebearers remove the humeral veil from the assisting priest’s shoulders.  (One of them takes the veil, having folded it to a manageable size.)

8.   The candlebearers descend to the pavement.  They genuflect (together) and go to their usual places on the south side.

9.   The assisting priest moves to the right 

10. The celebrant approaches.  When he passes through the rails, the M.C. joins him (standing at his left).  They genuflect and ascend the steps together.

11. The assisting priest says, “Let us humbly confess...”  All say the confession, and the celebrant pronounces the absolution


12. The celebrant sings the introduction to the Lord’s Prayer.  At the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, communion is administered in the usual way.

13. The ablutions are performed in the usual way.


14. After the postcommunion prayer, the exit procession forms:






                              Mc           C          AP



                           S1   CB1             CB2    S2   



__________________             ______________________  [rail]                                                                                                                          



                                    R1            R2


[1] When the procession passes the celebrant, he turns south.  He remains at his place facing south until the time comes for him to go to the altar.

[2] The proceedings in the chapel should not be rushed.  Time is needed for the preparation of the altar. 

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