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GANTHIER, Haiti – Arms raised to the heavens, tens of thousands of Haitians have flocked to a craggy hillside to pray and seek renewal in one of the spiritually steeped country's biggest annual pilgrimages — one of many exuberant expressions of Good Friday devotion across the Americas.
Many are raising passports to heaven pleading for visas. Others pray for a loving relationship or cures for ailments.
Some march along a dusty trail with rocks balanced on their heads, which they eventually discard, as if casting off sin.
Delano Demosthenes is among those praying for calm when a U.N. stabilization mission concludes in mid-October. The teacher says he is appealing "for a stable, peaceful Haiti."
The pilgrimage comes a day after the U.N. Security Council voted to end a 13-year peacekeeping operation in Haiti.