Happy Good Friday

For Catholics around the world Ash Wednesday kicked off the Easter Season. Forty days of abstinence from a favorite pleasure was a token of sacrifice for the crucified Messiah.

On Palm Sunday the faithful brandished palm fronds to celebrate the Son of God entering Jerusalem.

Each and every Good Friday of my childhood the priests and nuns led a mournful procession around our church stopping at each station of the cross.

Prayers, incense, candles.

There was nothing joyful about the ceremony.

God’s son was going to his death.

Good Friday was a day of buzzkills.

Five Aprils ago I was working on a small film at the northern end of Mulberry Street. I caught sight of a three young priests lugging a large wooden cross. About a hundred teenagers followed them. Their faces glowed with devotion to their faith. The director, knowing my feelings about the Catholic Church, sidled up to me and said, “It’s their holiday. Don’t say anything.”

“I won’t, if they won’t.”

Several of the passing worshippers wished us, “Happy Easter.”

“Happy nothing.” I muttered up my breath, recollecting the persecution by the priests and nuns for my youthful atheism.

“Zip it.” The director kicked my shin. Eric was a private apostate.

“Okay.” He was paying me to work and not to haranguing the believers.

The procession disappeared into Nolita and we resumed shooting our scene.

I have to learn some tolerance.

My mother would like that.

She was a good Catholic and a loving parent.

Happy Easter, Mom.

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