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Thousands of Roman Catholics in Dominica and millions worldwide today reflected on the gospel account of the Lord's Passion, recalling the day Jesus died on the cross before rising three days later, according to Christian doctrine.

Gabriel Malzaire, the Bishop of the Diocese of Roseau said today Good Friday was a special day for the Faithful and at services at churches island wide Dominican Catholics celebrated the Passion of Jesus.

"That is very significant. We do the reading of the Passion of Jesus, followed by prayer and communion," he said. "Then the entire (observance) climaxes in the celebration of the great Easter vigil. It is the great alleluia time, the time of resurrection that will all climax on Easter Sunday when we celebrate the great resurrection of Jesus Christ."

CNN reported that Pope Francis on Friday evening was leading a service at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican to mark Good Friday, the most solemn day in the Christian calendar.

Later Friday, he will take part in a nighttime ceremony marking the Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross or Via Crucis, at Rome's Colosseum -- one of the city's best known landmarks. On Thursday Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people, women and non-Catholics among them -- in a pre-Easter ritual designed to show his willingness to serve others like a slave.

Francis' decision in 2013 to perform the Holy Thursday ritual on women and Muslim inmates at a juvenile detention centre helped define his rule-breaking papacy just two weeks after his election. It riled traditionalist Catholics, who pointed to the Vatican's own regulations that the ritual be performed only on men since Jesus' 12 apostles were men.

The 2014 edition brought Francis to a centre for the disabled and elderly in Rome. Francis kneeled down, washed, dried and kissed the feet of a dozen people, some in wheelchairs, some with grossly swollen and disfigured

Holy Week is one of the most significant periods of the Roman Catholic year and Bishop Malzaire hopes this Easter will inspire more Catholics to attend church functions.

"I have seen that gradual decrease in people even attending church," Bishop Malzaire said. "So I would say there is a lot of work to be done in encouraging people to practice their faith."


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