Rome: Pope presides over Good Friday services


 Pope John Paul heard confessions for more than an hour and presided at the solemn Good Friday service in St Peter's Basilica today. In the evening, in spite of pouring rain he attended the candle-lit procession of a wooden cross around the Colosseum, where many early Christians were martyred. Thousands took part in the service. Among them was a young woman from Madrid who had survived the train bombing. In his opening prayer the Pope said: "Brothers and sisters, yet again we are reunited in following the Lord Jesus on the path that led him to Calvary." Years ago Pope John Paul II used to carry the wooden cross. Today, as he has difficulty walking, he sat and watched the procession before delivering a blessing at the end. The Pope is expected to preside over tomorrow's Easter Vigil Mass, and the Easter Sunday Mass in St Peter's Square.

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