Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Above: The altar is completely bare on Good Friday. You will never see Saint Thomas as unadorned as it appears on this day.
Meditations on the Last Seven Words of Christ
The Three Hours Devotion is one of the best opportunities you will find to put yourself in a contemplative state of mind, one which is open to experiencing the mystery of God incarnate sacrificed for those he created and loves.
The service involves a series of meditations on the last seven words of Christ spoken from the cross. Between each mediation, there are prayers, hymns and long periods of silence.
The last seven words are:
Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.
Saint Luke 23:34
Today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise.
Saint Luke 23:43
Woman, behold thy son!…
Saint John 19:25-27
My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?
Saint Matthew 27:46
Saint John 19:28
It is finished.
Saint John 19:30
Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
Saint Luke 23:46
While we encourage you to come for the entire three hours if you are able, we understand that many worshippers can be here only for shorter periods of time. Even if you are able to be with us for only a half hour or an hour, please do come. We ask, however, if you must leave early, that you please leave during the singing of a hymn so that you do not disrupt the periods of silence, during which many worshippers pray and meditate in their pews.
The service ends at 3pm, the traditional time we commemorate the death of Christ, at which time the bell tolls 33 times.