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Christians Prepare To Celebrate Easter As Holy Week Observances Continue

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Holy Week observances continued on Saturday, as Christians around the world prepared to celebrate Easter.

As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, for the faithful it has been a week filled with reflection and procession. From the Pope’s special prayers at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, to Manorville, Long Island, where hundreds of believers traveled to visit the “Our Lady of the Island” shrine.

Christians flocked to St. Patrick’s Cathedral Saturday night as Cardinal Timothy Dolan lead the Holy Saturday Easter vigil Mass, CBS 2’s Diane Macedo reported.

At the Vatican it was an even more dramatic picture as Pope Francis entered the darkened St. Peter’s Basilica with a lone candle, then shared it with others to slowly illuminate the church.

The service commemorated the darkness of the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday and the light of the Easter Resurrection.

As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, the calendars linked up so that both Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches will observe Easter at the same time.

In Jerusalem’s Old City, the scene was both sacred and spectacular with intense candlelight illuminating the Church of Holy Sepulchre.

The Holy Fire ceremony featured bundles of candles, 33 in each bundle, to symbolize Jesus’ age at the time of his death.

The Church of Holy Sepulchre stands on the site where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, entombed and resurrected.

The week is also one of symbolism. Hundreds of people walked across the Brooklyn Bridge bearing a wooden cross on Friday.

“We go through the streets to show the world that is what Christ went through,” Raquel Isaza Cantor, explained.

For believers the season is a time to focus on their savior’s suffering, and his dying for their sins, a pillar and foundation of their faith.

“Just as that Brooklyn Bridge spans brings together Brooklyn and Manhattan, Jesus is the bridge that brings together God and man,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan said.

Saturday’s solemn services pave the way for big celebrations on Sunday. There will be a total of eight Masses at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Easter Sunday. The last Mass begins at 5:30 p.m., drawing Holy Week to a close.

Several other exciting events going on around the city on Sunday include egg hunts, the Easter Parade, and the Bonnet Festival.

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