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Catholics Take Part In Good Friday Processions In NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Christians around the world are observing Good Friday.

Dozens marked one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar with a "Way of the Cross" procession on the East Side of Manhattan on Friday morning.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas Dimarzio led another procession from downtown Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan. The procession began at St. James Cathedral and made stops on the Brooklyn Bridge, City Hall, and ground zero before ending at Saint Peter's Church on Barclay Street.

CBS2's Steve Langford followed hundreds as they made their symbolic journey across the Brooklyn Bridge.

The air was empty with the sound of sacred silence, as the faithful hushed while crossing the bridge in a remarkable ritual that has become a striking symbol of Good Friday in New York for the last 21 years.

The traditional Catholic pilgrimage recalls the suffering and death of Jesus.

"It's a beautiful manifestation of faith that so many people, especially so many young people make this walk, this way of the cross," DiMarzio said.

In the Christian tradition, Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.

"What goes through my mind on Good Friday? The world today," Dolan told WCBS 880's Rich Lamb. "When we look around what do we see? Gloom, threats, violence, reasons to worry and despair. You look at Belgium; you look at Flint, Michigan; you at the decline of our political discourse; you look at North Korea' you look at China, you look at the persecution of Christians."

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Dolan wants Catholics across the Tri-State area to keep the faith.

"Good Friday is a microcosm of life and because life is filled with sufferings," Dolan told 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck. "We Christians aren't pessimists, we don't look for suffering, we don't relish it, are you kidding? But we're realists and we know it comes. Life brings suffering."

DiMarzio and Dolan led the procession along the stations of the cross, over a bridge perfectly suited for reflection, toward some of the most hallowed ground in the city.

In the shadow of Ground Zero, hundreds stood in the rain in profound reverence for Christ's final day, and in rememberance of the lost souls of a September morning nearly 15 years ago.

"It's a somber time. It's a time to really reflect on, you know, your life," Jennifer Wright said.

For many, the way of the cross, marking five of the fourteen stations traditionally commemorated on Good Friday, is a family experience.

Francesco Rotatori, his wife, and their four children have been taking part in it since moving his from Italy.

"It was a very touching experience," he said.

Charles Russell came from Washington to be part of the event.

"There's a juxtaposition of it being in the city with so much noise, but it's still a quiet and prayerful experience," he said.

Yesterday, Catholics observed Holy Thursday. The holy day commemorates the last supper of Jesus Christ, the final meal he shared with his disciples in Jerusalem before being betrayed and crucified.

Catholics will celebrate Easter this Sunday.

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