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US Christians Mark Good Friday with Charity

American Christians marked Good Friday with religious services and other commemorations, as they recalled events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, events in Los Angeles included a meal for the poor given to thousands.

On the city's Skid Row, home to the largest homeless population in the United States, the Los Angeles mayor and other officials joined celebrities to serve three thousand meals to the homeless.

Commemorations of various kinds are scheduled through Sunday, when Christian belief says Jesus rose from the dead.

Chris Cormier is a cook for the Los Angeles Mission, a religious charity that provides food and counseling to the poor and homeless. He says the mission operates every day, but events this weekend are special.

"This is nice, and a day of celebration on Easter," he said. "But we're here seven days a week, and our doors are open, and we're serving meals and providing other services."

Other Good Friday commemorations included a foot-washing ceremony, which recalls a special event in the Bible in which Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. A footware company donated two thousand pairs of shoes to the homeless who attended.

Saturday, Roman Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony will hold a blessing of the animals in downtown Los Angeles, as he oversees a procession that typically includes pigs, sheep, dogs, and other animals.

Sunday, Catholic and Protestant Christians around the world will celebrate Easter. Here in Los Angeles, worshippers will crowd churches, and the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater is expected to draw thousands for an Easter sunrise service. Eastern Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter Sunday, April 23.