ROME – Pope Francis is presiding over a torch-lit Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum marking Good Friday in Rome.
The pope's resolve to focus the Catholic church's attention on those who suffer was reflected in meditations read aloud to commemorate Jesus' crucifixion.
Wearing a plain white cassock, Francis silently observed the nighttime procession as a male choir sang solemn hymns in the ancient Roman basilica.
Meditations prepared for the service reflected on victims of human trafficking, migrants who risk death trying to reach affluent nations, inmates in overcrowded prisons, the jobless and children whose health had been endangered by Italian mobsters illegally dumping toxic wastes in their neighborhoods and farmland.
In the streets near the Colosseum, tens of thousands of pilgrims, tourists and Romans clutched prayer books and candles.