Vatican- Hundreds of faithful filled St Peter’s Basilica Friday evening for the celebration of the Passion of Our Lord. The liturgy, also known as the Good Friday service, recalls the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Pope Francis presided the liturgy, whose focal points included the reading of the Passion of Christ and the Adoration of the Holy Cross.

Earlier in the day, Fr Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, told a press conference that the celebration of the Passion of Our Lord is the only papal liturgy in the year when the Pope does not preach the homily.

The Pope presides, but he does not speak any of his own words, said Fr Lombardi. Instead, the homily is given by the preacher of the papal household, currently Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap.

Following the homily, the liturgy proceeded with the 10 universal prayer intentions specific to Good Friday: for the Church, the Pope, and all orders and degrees of the faithful, for catechumens, Christian unity, and the Jewish people, for those who do not believe in Christ and for those who do not believe in God, for all in public office and for all in special need.

The second part of the liturgy followed with the Adoration of the Holy Cross, during which the Cross of Christ was unveiled. The Stabat mater, a 13th-century hymn which meditates on the suffering of Mary at the foot of the Cross, was sung, after which the Cross was placed before the altar for the entire assembly to adore in silence.

The Good Friday liturgy is not a Mass, therefore the Eucharist was not consecrated. However, Communion was distributed. After the Pope prayed the blessing over the people, the liturgy concluded in silence, with no words of dismissal, as is the tradition for this second day of the Easter Triduum.