CHRISTIANS across the Hunter and the world have paused on Good Friday to remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
Parishioners of varying ages gathered at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newcastle West on Friday at 3pm, which is traditionally regarded as the time of Jesus Christ's death, for the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord.
Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Bill Wright used his homily to reflect on the prophet Isaiah's "gripping" foreshadowing of Jesus Christ's life, suffering and death - "ours were the sins he bore and through him we have been saved" - as well as the Passion of Lord Jesus Christ according to John, which tells the "horrible" story of the events leading to his crucifixion.
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Bishop Wright said Jesus Christ said the words 'It is accomplished' at the end of his life.
"Jesus himself of course did not want to die, he agonised over it in the garden, but he wanted to do the Father's will and he accomplished that," he said.
"We see the pain and the suffering of Christ and we are moved by it, we can even get angry about the injustice and all of it, but at the same time we see that it is his accomplishment of faithfulness to the end, bearing the lot of humankind."
A wooden crucifix covered in red was carried from the entryway to the altar.
"This is the wood of the cross on which was hung our salvation," Bishop Wright sang, as the congregation answered "Come, let us adore."
Parishioners are usually invited to venerate the cross by touching or kissing it, but this year were asked to bow or genuflect before it.
Parishioners prayed for the church; Pope; bishops, priests, and deacons; people who believe and don't believe in Christ; those who don't acknowledge God; people preparing for baptism and confirmation; Jewish people; those in public office; and those who "suffer the consequences of the current pandemic".
The service was streamed online.
COVID-19 restrictions have eased to allow choirs back into churches and congregations to sing. The cathedral can accommodate 221 people under the two square metre rule, so parishioners were asked to register their interest in attending to be guaranteed a seat. Easter Sunday marks the resurrection.
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