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Thousands Observe Good Friday with a Procession over the Brooklyn Bridge

By Janet Upadhye | March 29, 2013 2:19pm

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Thousands of people recalled the suffering and death of Jesus with a procession over the Brooklyn Bridge in observance of Good Friday.

Called The Way of the Cross, the traditional Catholic pilgrimage began at St. James Cathedral in Downtown Brooklyn where Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio presided over a short service. Observers then spilled out of the church doors to follow the Rev. Richard Veras, who carried a large wooden cross over the bridge.

"We commute over the bridge every day but today is a special devotion," said Louis Giovino, spokesman for Communion and Liberation, which sponsored the event. "We bring a large cross over the bridge to remind ourselves of the death of Jesus and his resurrection three days later."

The Way of the Cross in Brooklyn began in 1996 with a small group of friends. Participants visit five symbolic stations of the cross at St. James Cathedral, a point on the Brooklyn Bridge, City Hall Park, Ground Zero and finally ending at St. Peter's Church on Barclay Street in Manhattan.

People of all ages followed the somber Friday morning procession — some praying out loud while others stayed silent.

Dorothea Zelnick, 83, of Whitestone, Queens, said she has been waiting to take this particular journey for 80 years.

"Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge," she said. "It is even more special to be able to do it on this day."