Many years ago when I was in grade school, the time “12 to 3” had a very profound meaning on Good Friday. This is the time that Jesus, Our Saviour, hung on the cross and died for our sins. The morning of Good Friday was very different in our neighborhood of Kensington; it was especially quiet and unlike any other day. ##M;[read moe]##

Upon awakening that morning, we were reminded by my mother that this day is very sacred and that we should be quiet with no loud talking or laughing because this is the day Jesus died for our sins so that the gates of heaven could be open again.

As the noon hour approached, the sacredness of the day became more apparent. The stores on Kensington Avenue would close from “12 to 3,” including the Jewish merchants and the bars. Neighbors and older kids would be making their way through the streets and down the avenue to attend the services at Visitation Church.

When entering the church, the mood was quite somber and all the statues were covered in purple cloth to signify the Passion of Christ. Out on the streets, people would limit their conversation as a sign of respect for Jesus’ sacrifice for us. It was as if Calvary had come to Kensington, and we were very conscious of the events surrounding the crucifixion.

Our faith was strong then because many children were attending Catholic school, and the holiness of the sisters served as a reminder of God’s love for us. The parish of Visitation was the pride and joy of our neighborhood and a sign of hope.

But sad to say those days are gone. Now the sacredness of Good Friday has been obscured, clouded by “busy” work schedules, shopping and even major league ball games. For many it is now business as usual from “12 to 3.”

With all that Christ did for us, now many of us cannot take time on this solemn day to attend services and venerate the cross of our salvation. Good Friday is the day the earth stood still, and it is a time to go to church and publicly thank Christ for His supreme sacrifice of love. As we gaze upon the crucifix we can see Jesus waiting for us with open arms that are nailed to the cross.

Good Friday is the day to console our Saviour so that we will never forget the cost of “12 to 3.”

Marie Hagan McGuirl is a member of St. Hilary of Poitiers Parish, Rydal, and a resident of Huntingdon Valley.