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Area faithful find different ways to mark Good Friday

Published: Friday, April 18, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

Molly Lovelock plans to spend time today, Good Friday, alone in silence.

The DeKalb resident will take the time to witness for peace and justice, something she sees as a meaningful thing to do as the Lenten season comes to an end and Easter marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“It feels like part of the whole story to me,” Lovelock said. “Jesus makes a real statement for peace and justice.”

Across DeKalb County, the faithful are finding different ways to mark Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified, as the Lenten season of reflection comes to a close.   

Father Paul Lipinski from St. Mary Catholic Church in Sycamore said Lent, which started March 5 with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter when Jesus’ resurrection is celebrated, focused on reducing the influence of evil by doing good.

The church offered special services to show parishioners young and old the effects of sin as well as special penance services that he believes encouraged people to do good things. 

“We always have hope, but only God will know,” Lipinski said.

Good Friday is just one day observed during Holy Week. The week also included Palm Sunday marking Jesus arriving in Jerusalem; Maundy Thursday commemorating the last supper of Jesus Christ; and Holy Saturday that honors the day Jesus lay in the tomb.

Carrie Massey of DeKalb plans to go to the Good Friday service at the Newman Student Catholic Center in DeKalb because she wants to remember the entire story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. 

“It always feels important to go to be present for the suffering and sacrifice,” Massey said.

The somber tone of services on Holy Week that accompanies remembering Jesus’ suffering before his death is a crucial part of the Lenten season, said the Rev. Joseph Gastiger at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in DeKalb. He said Good Friday and the other days of Holy Week leading up to Easter are important in remembering that while God can accompany people through pain, he does not exempt people from it. 

“I think a lot of people jump from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday and we create a superhero that’s free of any pain,” Gastiger said. “We create this spiritual candy. It took Jesus only hours to die, but there are people who suffer for much longer.” 

Gastiger’s fellow pastor at First Congregational, the Rev. Judy Harris, said the church will mark Good Friday with a night service in the sanctuary filled with readings and songs that will end in silence. The Holy Saturday service also will end in silence. Members of the congregation will return Sunday to a joyous Easter service.

Lent was an introspective time, she said, for the faithful to remember their spiritual journeys don’t end.

“In a lot of ways this time is the culmination of the rest of the year, but it’s also the start,” she said. “It’s both the fulfillment and the start of the journey.”

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