Mangaluru, March 26, 2016: While the whole wide world marked the death of Christ, Mangaluru and Canara following the Konkani catholic traditions solemnly marked the day of liberation a vital spot in the calendar. Speaking of the calendar, Good Friday (which follows the lunar cycle) and Annunciation (which is when it was announced that Mary would be the mother of Jesus) and marked on March 25, in the fixed church calendar, this is seen as something significant. Next it will happen only in 2157, it is said.
Good Friday liturgy in churches is significantly solemn and reverent, well attended. All over Canara it was a special day with fasting and prayer. The Bishop of Mangalore Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza again lead the day’s service at Rosario Cathedral which commenced at 5 pm and continued till 9 pm. At noon the traditional ’14 Stations of the cross’ were reflected on.
The Good Friday service consisted of mainly 3 parts. Reading of the passion in it’s full form animated by different celebrants. The exposition and adoration of the cross by all present. Followed by reception of the Holy Eucharist. The Bishop was assisted by Rt Rev. Denis Moras Prabhu and 5 other priests all in red.
Panegyric of Christs death:
The panegyric of this Christs death was delivered form the ancient pulpit not in use today, by the young priest Rev Paul S. D’Souza who was marking the first Holy Week as a priest. The traditionally long homily touched on the suffering of Christ for the redemption of man, he gave very practical and captivating examples from daily life which held the attention of the congregation spell bound. The main invitation was to take ones daily trials in a positive way as shown by Christ and use it for a greater good.
After the communion service,there is no mass on this particular day. The leaders of the Cathedral parish enacted the lowering and respects to Christ in Jewish attire; carrying ladders, tools, linen and a flower bedecked wooden cradle for the ’body’, approach the huge Crucifix on the front alter from the main door with slow reverent steps along the aisle to the raised sanctum. The ladders are placed on the either sides of the cross and slowly two followers ascend and with deliberate movements first remove the crown of thorns. After the body is secured with linen, the large nails driven into the hands and feet are gradually removed. Supported by the linen cloth and the mourners, the body is reverently brought down and placed in the flower bedecked cradle. The flowers used are generally local ’Jasmine’ (Mallige) in good quantity brought in by devotees, the fragrance is something the human memory remembers for long. With devotion and respect the symbolic ’body’ is taken in a short procession in the vicinity of the church. Finally, it is placed in the artificial "Sepulcher". The dramatic traditional depiction which at one time was observed in all churches in the region comes to an end. Perhaps such enactments are visible elsewhere in India, in different forms outside church rituals. Not only do these depictions have a memorable place in the minds but have also serve to touch lives. With a silence of the tomb prevailing the church awaits the most solemn celebration of the Eater Vigil to day mach 26, Saturday, as a joyful prelude to EASTER.