Christians in the Holy Land marked Good Friday without the mass pilgrimages usually seen in the days leading up to Easter because of the coronavirus, and worshippers in many other predominantly Christian countries where the virus is still raging observed their second annual Holy Week with tight restrictions on gatherings.
In Latin America, penitents from Mexico and Guatemala to Paraguay carried tree branches covered with thorns and large crosses in Passion Plays reenacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. At the Vatican, Pope Francis presided over a torch-lit Way of the Cross ceremony in St. Peter's Square, foregoing for a second year the traditional Colosseum procession that draws thousands of pilgrims, tourists and Romans.
Worshippers in the Philippines and France marked a second annual Holy Week under movement restrictions amid outbreaks fanned by more contagious strains. In the U.S., officials urged Christians to celebrate outdoors, while social distancing, or in virtual ceremonies.
In Kenya, all churches were ordered to close as part of a ban on large gatherings to contain a worsening outbreak. Joseph Karinga went to his church anyway and prayed outside the shuttered doors, in a garden near a shrine to Mary. "I will just say my rosary here and go home," he said.
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An almost empty Welcome Rotonda roundabout is seen as the government implements a strict lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on Good Friday, April 2, 2021 in Manila, Philippines. Filipinos marked Jesus Christ's crucifixion Friday in one of the most solemn holidays in Asia's largest Catholic nation which combined with a weeklong coronavirus lockdown to empty Manila's streets of crowds and heavy traffic jams. Major highways and roads were eerily quiet on Good Friday and churches were deserted too after religious gatherings were prohibited in metropolitan Manila and four outlying provinces. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A Christian enacts the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to mark Good Friday in Hyderabad, India, Friday, April 2, 2021. Christians all over the world attend mock crucifixions and passion plays that mark the day Jesus was crucified, known to Christians as Good Friday. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
Christians participate in a procession to mark Good Friday in Jammu, India, Friday, April 2, 2021. Christians all over the world attend mock crucifixions and passion plays that mark the day Jesus was crucified, known to Christians as Good Friday. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
A Christian carries a cross as he walks along the Via Dolorosa towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed by many to be the site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, during the Good Friday procession in Jerusalem's old city, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Christians carry a cross along the Via Dolorosa towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed by many to be the site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, during the Good Friday procession in Jerusalem's old city, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit, center, carries the holy cross at the Way of the Cross ceremony as part of the Holy Easter celebration, in the Sacre Coeur basilica, in Paris, Friday, April 2, 2021. In France, a nationwide 7 p.m. curfew is forcing parishes to move Good Friday ceremonies forward in the day, as the traditional Catholic night processions are being drastically scaled back or cancelled. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Catholic faithful reenact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in a Passion Play on the plaza of the Our Lady of Candelaria church that remained closed to the public due to coronavirus restrictions, in Capiata, Paraguay, Friday, April 2, 2021. As deaths related to COVID-19 increase daily the government decreed a preventive lockdown during Holy Week. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
A penitent known as a "gateador" or crawler with a cluster of thorns tied to his back, moves slowly on his knees through the streets in a pilgrimage to Calvary to symbolically purge his sins or give thanks for a promise granted, as part of a Good Friday tradition in San Andres Sajcabaja, Guatemala, Friday, April 2, 2021. Christians in Latin America mark Good Friday this year amid the coronavirus crisis with some religious sites open to limited numbers of faithful but none of the mass pilgrimages usually seen in the Holy Week leading up to Easter. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
Pope Francis presides over the Via Crucis – or Way of the Cross – ceremony in St. Peter's Square empty of the faithful following Italy's ban on gatherings to contain coronavirus contagion, at the Vatican, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis embraces a child after leading the Via Crucis – or Way of the Cross – ceremony in St. Peter's Square empty of the faithful following Italy's ban on gatherings to contain coronavirus contagion, at the Vatican, Friday, April 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Actors portraying soldiers guide a man playing Jesus Christ during an outdoor reenactment of the Stations of the Cross at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church on Friday, April 2, 2021, in west Denver. Parishioners walked through the neighborhood as part of the service. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)