This most solemn of all days should be marked by fasting and penance, leading us to focus on Jesus upon the Cross. The bare, stark appearance of the church serves as a reminder of the seriousness and the sorrow of the day. It is by the Cross we are redeemed and set free from bondage to sin and death. The Cross is a sign of God’s never-ending love for us. It is a sign of life, in the midst of death. The service on this day consists of three parts: lessons and prayers, including the recital of the Passion from St. John’s Gospel; the veneration of the Cross, a devotion showing our love and thankfulness for the gift of life given us by Jesus’ death; and it concludes with the Mass of the Presanctified from the Sacrament consecrated on Maundy Thursday.