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Limited In-Person Services Held For Good Friday, Parishioners Say Easter Weekend Message Remains The Same

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Christians around the world and in New York are marking Good Friday today.

Unlike last year, some services are in-person. But officials are still warning against large Easter weekend gatherings due to COVID-19, CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported.

For many Christians, this long weekend is considered the holiest of the year. Even though capacity is limited, worshippers said the Good Friday message remains the same.

A small number of parishioners joined in song, prayer and reflection at the St. James Cathedral Basilica in Brooklyn.

"It's kind of a quiet, meditative sort of day," said John Ronan. "We sort of reflect on Christ's death and passion, and then all goes quiet between now and the morning of Easter."

For Christians, Good Friday is the day Jesus died on the cross.

"Technically, the church hinges on the fact that his crucifixion is what redeemed us, and his resurrection," said Dino D'Agato.

"Christ has suffered as we did, especially during this past year," said Silvia Romano.

In previous years, hundreds of faithful walked the Way of the Cross over the Brooklyn Bridge to symbolize Jesus's suffering. This year, at reduced capacity, a Staten Island doctor carried the cross, symbolizing the weight of the lives lost this year.

"First responders, doctors and nurses had a particularly difficult year in terms of dealing with the pandemic, and we went through very difficult times. We witnessed suffering," said physician Francesco Rotatori.

"Everyone knew somebody who's has died, somebody who got COVID. It made us think a little bit more deeply about those realities, which are inevitable," said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.

Bishop DiMarzio said the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday is a symbol of hope to come.

"We see hope in the vaccination and people continuing to do what they should so we can eliminate this evil among us. It's a virus," DiMarzio said.

Those who feel safer watching at home could join in online services, including at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan.

Some services require tickets to limit attendance.

Health officials are also reminding people to keep Easter weekend gatherings small and outside, if possible.

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