BRIDGEPORT—”The world calls love by many names, many faces, many forms, but that love is not what brings us here,” Bishop Caggiano said on Good Friday, the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.
“It’s the love of the Savior who teaches us that love is an act of the will for the good of another even to the point of emptying ourselves completely for that good. That is what He did today,” the bishop said in a live-streamed liturgy from St Augustine Cathedral.
“On this day that we call ‘Good’ for your salvation and mine, we come here to gaze upon the crucified Christ and to re-learn what the face of love really means. For the one who was sinless took it upon himself the many sins of the entire world and he bore then in atonement– he who was the free and sinless victim.”
The bishop said that God loves us in a way that the world cannot image with a love “that does not seek self-gratification or self-fulfillment, a love that is pure gift and can conquer death itself,” even if we are not worthy of it.
More than 150 attended the 3 pm service in person, wearing masks and seated in pews marked for socially distanced worship. The liturgy began when the bishop, deacons and seminarians processed in and lay prostrate on the marble floor in front of the main altar.
Transitional Deacon Guy Dormevil of Norwalk read the passion account from the Gospel of John, led the prayer of the faithful, and also held the Cross before the altar as the faithful came forward to venerate it.
Cathedral parishioners of all ages—some carrying young children in their arms and others elderly and supported by a cane—genuflected before the Cross and blessed themselves in somber silence. Most were wearing heavy coats on a day that had turned suddenly cold and wintry.
After venerating the cross, the faithful processed down the center aisle a second time to receive Holy Communion.
In his homily the bishop said by dying for us, Christ willed our good unto eternal life, and he asks us to live our own discipleship focused on the “only love that ultimately brings life and glory.”
“You and I cannot live that love without his help. And when we come tomorrow night to this space shrouded in darkness and see an empty tomb, we will have what we need,” he said, anticipating the Easter Vigil.
Bishop Caggiano said we gather on Good Friday “to remind ourselves not only what love really is, but who love really is.”
“We live in a world that wants us to believe that love has other faces. It was true in Jesus’s time as well as it is in our own,” he said urging the faithful to reject worldly forms of love and to see to love the way Christ did.
The bishop said if you consider the faces of those who surrounded Jesus during his passion, you would see a “grasping, greedy love” for thirty pieces of silver, a love of self-preservation as seen when Peter and the apostles fled for their own safety and security, and a bystander love like those at the foot of the cross who were mildly interested but wouldn’t act to save another.
“I ask you, What did you and I come to see here today? We came to looks upon a crucified savior, we came to look upon the face of love. Let us not forget that face when the world points us to love the way it wants,” he said.
“The world’s way will leave us on calvary. The Lord’s way will lead us to eternal life.”