Passion Reading on Good Friday

I went to a neighboring parish for Good Friday as they have their liturgy earlier. When we got to the Gospel, instead of the priest being Jesus, he indicated that the congregations should recite Jesus’ words. Am I being picky because I thought either the priest or a deacon should do this and always the congregation would be the crowd. In addition the priest did the narrative and the reader took the place of the congregation. I’m a little confused by this, and I wondered if any of the other parishes did this, or if it made any difference. The pastor indicated they had done this also on Palm Sunday!

Let’s just say that it flies in the face of all the rules for the reading of the Passion. Even having the congregation participate at all goes against what is laid out by Paschale Solemnitatis, which clearly says three readers: the priest reading the words of Jesus, one doing the narration and one doing everything else.

For the past few years in our parish, There has been three male members of the choir that sing the passion reading. So in this case the role of Jesus is sung by a lay member of the choir. It is very beautiful.

The Gospel narrative on Good Friday is taken from the Gospel but is not Gospel itself so there may be some leeway regarding who may read the part of Jesus. But I have to say that what you have described does not sound right to me- to put the congregation as a whole reading the part of Jesus. I know there are times when there are innocent people including ourselves who have suffered unjust criticism and are persecuted for their faith and so on. But Good Friday should be the time when we reflect upon how much Jesus suffered for our own sins. Having the people read the part of Jesus seems to change the focus. This is just my opinion.

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