JERUSALEM (AP) - Hundreds of pilgrims have walked the traditional Good Friday procession in Jerusalem's Old City that retraces Jesus' steps.
They hoisted wooden crosses, chanting prayers to mark the crucifixion of Jesus. Today's procession ended at the ancient Holy Sepulcher church. Later today there'll be a Mass in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity.
This evening in Rome, thousands of Catholics will take part in the "Via Crucis" or "Way of the Cross" procession to the Colosseum led by newly elected Pope Francis.
Tonight's celebration follows an unusual Holy Thursday where the pope gave mass at a prison for minors in Rome. There, he washed the feet of twelve young prisoners, two of whom were Muslim and for the first time, two women.
This weekend's celebration will culminate with mass on Easter Sunday in St. Peter's.
There is talk that an American could be next in line for the papal office now that Pope Benedict the sixteenth is stepping down from his office at the end of the month. He is the first Pope to resign in 600 years.
Monday morning, Ballwin, Missouri native and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan reflected on the possibility that he could be moving to Rome sometime soon. Dolan says, "Well it's awesome, you're right. I really .. I mean theoretically I've known that since I was made a cardinal last year that that would be one of the awesome responsibilities, but it's not something you think about. I don't have any insider information, but I would presume that his esteem for the office as the successor of Saint Peter and the chief pastor of the church universal ... that esteem is so high that in all humility he simply said, I can't do it anymore."
Cardinal Dolan. along with Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former archbishop of the St. Louis Archdiocese are two of seven Americans in the College of Cardinals who can vote for the next pope . Dolan says he believes 85-year-old Pope Benedic's health is not the best, "He knows he's getting a little wobbly. When he was elected as successor of St. Peter in 2005, he shrugged and said to his fellow cardinals, boy, I sure don't have the strength and the durability that blessed John Paul the Second had. So he's been well aware of his frailty."
Church insiders say Italian cardinals are more likely to succeed. The pope's resignation sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.