Pope Francis presides over the Passion of Christ on Good Friday

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Pope Francis entered St. Peter's Basilica in a silent and solemn procession. At the cross of Jesus, he fell on the ground to pray. This prostrate body position symbolizes an attitude of recollection and penance specifically seen on Good Friday.

In this gesture, all the people of God, represented by the priest, are joined in prayer before the sacrifice Christ made on the Cross.

After a few minutes, the masters of ceremony helped the pope to his feet.

The music and the dim lights of the basilica offered the perfect atmosphere for this ceremony remembering the Passion of the Lord.

After proclaiming the Gospel in Latin, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical House, delivered the homily. He spoke on the meaning of the Cross.

Preacher, Pontifical House
'It is the definitive and irreversible 'no' of God to violence, injustice, hate, liesâ??to all that we call 'evil,' and at the same it is equally the irreversible 'yes' to love, truth, and goodness. 'No' to sin, 'yes' to the sinner. It is what Jesus practiced all His life and that He now definitively consecrates with His death.'

He further explained that the Cross is not a simple symbol of the past, because Jesus was resurrected and can change the hearts of people.

Preacher, Pontifical House
'Christ did not come to explain things but to change human beings. The heart of darkness is not only that of some evil person hidden deep in the jungle, nor is it only that of the western society that produced it. It is in each one of us in varying degrees.'

Then the cross was worshiped in procession from the entrance of the basilica to the altar.

When it reached the pope, he removed the red veil covering it and kissed the cross that remained there for all to worship as he sang with the Sistine Chapel Choir.

The Good Friday ceremony is sober and austere, symbolizing the sad waiting and longing that precedes the joy of the Resurrection.

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