NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of Christians observed Good Friday with a Way of the Cross procession over the Brooklyn Bridge, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ ahead of the Easter holiday.

Archibishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio greeted participants in the procession, which started from St. James Cathedral-Basilica in Brooklyn and concluded at St. Peter’s Church in Lower Manhattan.

“Every time you and I surrender ourselves to God’s will in prayer, as difficult as it is, the Way of the Cross happens,” the cardinal told worshipers.

“We follow Jesus through the passion from the beginning when he was condemned by Pilot to his death when he’s placed in the tomb,” the bishop added.

It’s a day of reflection and prayer, with the procession symbolizing Jesus’ walk to Mount Calvary.

“Good Friday is the most solemn day of the year for Christians,” said Caitlin Black, who participated in the procession commemorating Christ’s Passion. “I get a real sense of community which I think is important. I also get a real sense of closeness to Jesus, and the city.”

“It’s important because we’re just walking the same way Jesus did,” said 13-year-old Micah Simmonds of Brooklyn. He was walking in his late father’s footsteps, who Micah says was known for carrying the cross in the annual tradition. “I feel better about myself. I feel like I’ve helped myself become a better person.”

Vladimir Kuzman took on the honor this year. The procession is a grand proclamation of faith and unity. It began in 1996 with about two dozen people.

“It has grown quite bit. There are thousands of people who participate every year now,” Kuzman said. “I mean, it’s a humbling experience to see so many people moved by this day.”

Even a family that just moved to New York from Italy – where the tradition really began – joined in.

“We are so happy to be here and live this moment that we’re reminded about Jesus,” said Marta Botturi.

Moving in silence across the Bridge, stopping to station at places including at City Hall and Zuccotti Park.

“Really bringing Christianity into the city,” Black said.