Communion on Good Friday

The Concord Pastor comments on Good Friday, and wonders about the distribution of the Eucharist on that day.

I’m aware the entrenched recent practice is not the oldest of the Christian traditions. I’d welcome an opportunity to theologize on the parish level about it. Most often, our post-Triduum discussions wait until the second week of Easter. The overriding concerns on both liturgy committees and parish staffs are more the practical ones.

I heard of one priest who advocated veneration and Communion in the same procession. That kind of pragmatism: I sure hope we don’t center on that stuff in my new parish. Concord Pastor is the kind of priest you want in your parish, and the sort we need more of in the other churches around Christendom. Somebody who sees liturgy as neither a plaything or as an object to test one’s obedience to the red.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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7 Responses to Communion on Good Friday

  1. Tony Neria says:

    That has always bothered me to receive communion on Good Friday. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

  2. Rob F. says:

    I’m having a hard time thinking why not having communion would be a good thing.

  3. Is it ever a bad thing (not a good thing) to have Communion? The question seems to admit of only one answer: Of course it must always be a good thing to have Communion! I don’t suggest that you were trying to prejudice the issue here, but the real question isn’t whether it’s a good or bad thing to have Communion on Good Friday. The questions are, “Why do we have Communion on Good Friday? If Eucharist is not celebrated on this day (and no one is suggesting that it ought to be) is an older form of the ritual for this day (Word/Passion – Intercessions – Veneration)as appropriate or possibly more appropriate than the current practice?

    Rather than trying to think whether Communion is a good or a bad thing on Good Friday, try to imagine a time when it was not the practice and how that liturgy may have been experienced by the people.

    Folks in parishes where the Veneration is experienced as a communal as well as individual act will, I think, be better able to imagine the several possibilities here.

  4. Gavin says:

    What is the history of Communion on Good Friday? I should think it’s an ancient practice, since the Orthodox have their “Presanctified Gifts” liturgy.

  5. Anne says:

    It’s hard in today’s society to understand what the Triduum is all about. Good Friday is about reflecting on the Passion and it’s also about resting,fasting and praying along with the Catechumens who are doing so. I don’t believe this reform has been grasped yet in many parishes. Many of us cannot take time off from our jobs on Friday to fast and pray. But somehow we (the church) ought to be able to capture some sort of sense of the Triduum and vigiling. These are not Holy days of obligation as such. These day are much more important to us!! We all should be present. Of course we need to offer motivation to participate at this one liturgy which continues for three days. That motivation is the excitement of the Easter Vigil. When that has been achieved, then people might understand about fasting and resting from certain practices, activities etc., even from communion on Good Friday.

  6. The big problem I see is that some people think the only real service is one where communion is given, and if there is no communion, what’s the point of going to worship. This is why a variety of services routinely are ignored — even in the East. Both Vespers and Matins have difficulty in getting people to go — of course, going to Matins for an hour, and then an hour and a half of liturgy makes for a full morning, so I can understand why people don’t go all the time (I don’t). But the thing is — there is indeed a need for non-communion based worship services, and I think their decline came after the popular reception of St Pius X’s reforms. Even the Catholic East felt the full impact of those.

  7. Rob F. says:

    ConcordPastor:

    I have a hard time trying to imagine a time when there was no communion on Good Friday, because I know nothing about what the liturgy was like in those days. I can only imagine a modern commemoratio passionis, but minus communion. Imagined it; don’t like it.

    Henry Karlson: There is no doubt in my mind that communion is a big draw to a parish service. It’s not that it’s the only real service. The question is not what is the point of worship without communion, the question is what is the point of bundling up the family and driving to the parish church. We all have prayerbooks at home, after all, and many of us have shrines.

    I have often thought that adding a short communion service after Lauds or Vespers would bring a lot more people to these parish services. It would be especially useful in those parishes were there are few daily masses due to the priest shortage.

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