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A Message from Fr. John for Good Friday (April 10)

Dear St. Denis Parishioners:

On behalf of the U.S. Catholic bishops, Archbishop José Gomez will pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at 9:00 a.m. on Good Friday (April 10) for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.  Please join him in this prayer, which will be livestreamed on the Cathedral’s YouTube channel and on the LA Catholics Facebook page.

Pope Francis has granted a special plenary indulgence to those who pray for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.  A plenary indulgence removes all of the temporal punishment due to sins and may be applied to oneself or to the souls of the deceased [Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1471].

To receive this indulgence, a member of the faithful needs to:

(1)  pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus sometime on Good Friday;

(2)  be truly repentant of any sins they have committed and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (at the earliest opportunity); and

(3)  pray for the Pope’s intentions. 

In addition to praying the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as described above, please join the priests of St. Denis for the following three liturgies:  Morning Prayer at 8:00 a.m., the “Stations of the Cross” at 12:00 p.m., and the “Celebration of the Lord’s Passion” at 2:30 p.m.  These three liturgies will be livestreamed via St. Denis’s Facebook page; and the video of each liturgy will be uploaded to St. Denis’s YouTube channel about 2-3 hours after the end of the liturgy. 

The livestream should be viewable even if you do not have a Facebook account.  (If you don’t have an account, you may have to refresh St. Denis’s Facebook page to get it to open; and if a pop-up appears encouraging you to set up an account, you can dismiss the pop-up by clicking on “Not Now.”)

For information about other livestreamed or televised liturgies on Good Friday, please click here.

When watching a liturgy on the Internet or on TV, please participate as much as you can—e.g., by saying the responses and prayers aloud and by standing, kneeling, and sitting at the appropriate times.

In addition to celebrating the liturgies that are described above, I strongly recommend reading the Passion narrative from Friday’s Gospel (John 18:1—19:42) either by yourself or with your family (perhaps with different family members reading several paragraphs at a time).  Then, after reading the Gospel, everyone could answer the following questions:  (1)  What incident in Gospel caught your attention or spoke to your heart?  (2)  Why did you choose that incident (perhaps share a story or an anecdote)?  (3)  Through this Gospel, what is God calling you to do, to think, to feel, or to be.  When reflecting on the Gospel with a group, please allow everyone to answer question 1 before moving on to question 2; and allow everyone to answer question 2 before moving on the question 3. 

Reading the Bible together as a family can have a powerful influence on the children.  When I was eight years old, my mother took out the family Bible and sat down with me on Good Friday; and we read John 18:1—19:42 together.  Of course, she had to explain what we were reading.  This was the only time that a relative ever read the Bible with me as a child; and so this memory of Good Friday stayed with me for the rest of my life.  Then, on a Good Friday nearly 30 years later, the memory of reading the Bible with my mother led me start reading the Bible as an adult for the first time, even though I had drifted away from God and the Church and had virtually no faith.

Please keep this day holy by avoiding standard entertainment on TV or the Internet and other distractions.  If you want to watch a good movie on Good Friday, I recommend watching The Gospel of John, a beautiful 2003 film with Christopher Plummer as the narrator.  This movie is unique because it’s a word-for-word depiction of John’s Gospel; and it’s available for free in high definition on YouTube.  If you watch the full movie, which is three hours, you will see Jesus’s Passion and death in the context of his life and Resurrection.  Alternatively, you could watch only the scenes from Friday’s Gospel—a total of about 12 minutes from 2:18:52 to 2:40:51.

May God bless and protect you and your families during this Holy Week; and through the mystery of the Cross, may He  draw all of us closer to Him.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. John

P.S.  Please check St. Denis’s website ( for our livestreaming and video schedule, as well as for recommendations for celebrating Easter at home.  The Easter recommendations will be posted by Saturday morning (April 11).

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