Veneration of the Cross

Ascension’s Veneration of the Cross service will live stream at 3:00 p.m. on Good Friday. This practice has been around since the fourth century. According to tradition, St. Helen discovered a fragment of the cross on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The cross was brought forward and placed on an altar where the priests and people could pay homage to the relic. It is said that the people pressed their eyes, brows, and lips to the cross as the priest repeated: “Behold, the wood of the cross.”

Although we are not able to physically attend the Veneration of the Cross service, we are able to unite with the members of our Parish — and all Catholics throughout the world — by Venerating our Lord’s Cross at home.

Venerating Our Lord’s Cross at Home:

Before the 3:00 PM Veneration service begins:

  1. Choose a favorite Crucifix from your home, and place it on a small table or central area in your home. If you have young children, choose a crucifix that is sturdy enough for your young children to hold and touch it. You may want to set up a small prayer space, with the crucifix, a candle (if safe for your family), and plain white paper and pencils for prayerful writing or coloring.
  2. Optional: prepare your home in the same austerity in which our church is prepared. You can do this by covering religious icons, putting away Easter decorations that may have slipped out early, and by shutting off your television and electronic devices for the day (but not until you’ve finished reading this post, of course!)
  3. Print the Good Friday readings with the link below:

During the 3:00 PM Veneration Service:

  1. Join Ascension’s live stream Veneration Service at 3:00 PM
  2. After the homily, pause the live stream service and insert your at-home Veneration of the Cross procession.
  3. One parent should reverently process forward and pick up the crucifix. Kneel before the cross, and kiss or place your forehead on the cross. Say the words, “Behold, the wood of the cross.”
  4. Hold the cross out for your family, and invite each family member to come forward, kneel, kiss the cross, and repeat the words, “Behold, the wood of the cross.”
  5. Resume Ascension’s live stream service after your veneration is complete.

Family Reflection Questions

After the service, reflect on the experience with your family.

Why do Catholics venerate the Cross?

Use your senses: What does the Good Friday Veneration Service feel like? Sound like? Look like?

Did you notice anything different about the Good Friday Service? Was it Mass?

Consider the crucifix that you used for veneration at home. Will you think of this particular crucifix differently now?

The disciples slept through their final opportunity to be fully present with Jesus before his arrest and passion. Now that we are separated from receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, might we look back at our own spiritual lives and discover that we have also been asleep? Click the image below for the reflection: