Last night I went to Sacred Heart Cathedral for one purpose - to capture a moment in Catholicism that has moves me.
At the beginning of the traditional Good Friday services, you know something very solemn is happening when the priest enters - quietly, there are no hymns or announcements - and makes his way to the front of the church. There, he prostrates himself in front of the altar for some moments.
It is a scene of lovely humility, and I noted last night that Bishop Richard Stika also removed his shoes, again as a sign of his unworthiness that Christ should die as He did for his soul.
I never noticed this as a child, likely because I do not recall attending many Good Friday services. There was a time in my life when I was away from the Church and, like many adult Catholics, became a "revert" and returned to being a practicing Catholic. At that time of reversion, I remember going to church at St. Irenaeus Church in Cypress, California. The pastor at the time was Monsignor Michael Heher (then only Father Heher). I watched him sitting, alone, at the back of the church, staring at the altar before the Good Friday services, with a profound sense of sadness. Then, as if reaching a point where he felt, it has to be done, he got up, walked to the front of the church, and lay face down before the Cross. It was then I felt that what Good Friday means had been realized.