Guinness And Confession

Good Friday saw the postponement of a potentially prickly beer strike in Ireland, the union-friendly end to a labor dispute in Pennsylvania, and the traditional holiday procession at the Vatican.

It's Guinness as usual in Ireland's pubs this Easter holiday weekend, as company employees are working normally.

A strike was suspended last night after Guinness executives agreed to reconsider closing a packaging plant in the town of Dundalk. Workers upset about the closure plans had vowed to shut down breweries throughout the country.

Negotiations between both sides are now set to resume next week.

Guinness had predicted a walkout could have cost the company up to $18 million dollars a week, not to mention the public relations fallout if pubs ran dry of Ireland's most famous drink, on Good Friday no less.

Meanwhile, the holiday brought a different sort of labor dispute to the U.S. A federal judge in Pennsylvania said a Shop 'n Save grocery store must close its doors in observance of Easter.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union had filed suit against the store's parent company last week. Supervalue Inc., who bought the supermarket last year, announced it would keep the store open on Easter. But U.S. District Judge Robert Cindrich ruled even asking for a volunteer work force violates the union contract.

Local clergy had supported the union protest.

Meanwhile at the Vatican, Pope John Paul heard confessions from 12 people, hours before a solemn procession at Rome's Colosseum to mark the holiday.

At the vatican, a good
Friday procession is set (AP)
The pope sat for an hour in a wooden booth, hearing confessions in several languages at St. Peter's Basilica. It's a tradition he began in 1979, a few months after becoming pope.

Tonight's procession, which symbolically traces Christ's path to his crucifixion, has been modified because of John Paul's age and health.

The 81-year-old pontiff used to carry a wooden cross for the entire half-mile procession. This year he will watch most of the rite while kneeling and pick up the cross only at the end.

In Jerusalem, Christian pilgrims Friday retraced Jesus's walk to crucifixion in subdued Holy Land Easter celebrations. They were protected by heavier-than-usual security because of recent Israeli-Palestinian violence.

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