Billboards: Why Good Friday?


PROVIDENCE—As part of the Year of Evangelization, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence purchased, through the generosity of an anonymous donor, digital billboard time from Lamar Advertising for a Lenten ad that featured an image of Jesus Christ accompanied by the following text: "Wonder Why Today is Good?"

"The true meaning of Good Friday is easily lost in our busy and secular culture,” said Bishop Thomas J. Tobin. “The billboards are an attempt to take the Gospel to the streets, literally, and to remind us all that on Good Friday, Jesus died for the sins of the world. We should remember God's love for us and, in return, renew our faith and gratitude."

The billboards could be viewed on Routes 10 and 195 until midnight on Good Friday.

The website features a number of reflections on Good Friday as well as links to the Diocese of Providence’s website, Rhode Island Catholic parish directory and links to other informational resources about the Catholic Faith.

The Year of Evangelization is a multi-faceted effort to reach out to the Catholic Church’s lost brothers and sisters in Christ to welcome them back to the church, strengthen the faithful and share with others the truth and teachings of the Catholic Faith.

On Good Friday, the faithful attempt to understand the pain and suffering Jesus Christ endured on the cross at Calvary for their redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Good Friday, with the altar bare and the door of the empty tabernacle open, Catholics gather together to participate in the Adoration of the Cross, reading of the Passion, and more.

Lamar Advertising offers one-day rentals of the digital sign boards for $370 to $700. William Patenaude, who is leading the Evangelization committee, said that one day or weekly rentals are perfect for holy days or short-term campaigns.

“We had the perfect storm of good intentions with this campaign: A donor looking to help the Year of Evangelization, a great medium that needed attention, and a one-day teaching moment with Good Friday,” said Patenaude. “When we were looking at a one-day event, Good Friday seemed natural because it helps us deal with the challenges offered by the Gospel. A return to the church is not all about peace and eternal life, but also the cross. The site helped us teach that the cross is necessary to bring us to the promises of Easter.”

Even if people did not visit the site, Patenaude explained, they were confronted with a question, literally from on high.

“The image of Christ looking down on you from a huge electronic billboard is in itself quite powerful,” he said. “I drove by the 195 sign at night on Good Friday. My reaction was a definite ‘wow.’”

Photo: Michael Guilfoyle

HIGHWAY?EVANGELIZATION: Until midnight on Good Friday, digitial billboards on Routes 195 and 10 displayed a message reminding those driving by of the significance of the day. An anonymous donor provided the resources to purchase the billboards that sought to call to mind the importance of Good Friday.