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Pope takes aim at social injustice in Good Friday prayer

The Pope has led prayers for the victims of poverty and social injustice in a late-night Good Friday Way of the Cross procession in Rome. Millions of people around the world were commemorating the death of Jesus Christ.

The procession, which takes place outside the Colosseum in Rome, marks the 14 stops that Catholics believe Jesus made as he was led to his crucifixion.

At each stop a prayer is read aloud to the faithful.

One prayer, read by Italian actress Virna Lisi, addressed the plight of child soldiers.

Another recalled the victims of the economic crisis - an issue frequently touched on by the Pope, who was serving as archbishop of Buenos Aries at the height of the economic collapse in Argentina.

"This is the cross which weighs upon the world of labor, the injustice shouldered by workers," the prayer said.

Others prayed for immigrants who risk death to reach more affluent nations, for the women and children enslaved by human traffickers and inmates in "inhumane" overcrowded prisons.

Tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists lined the streets along the route of the procession clutching prayer books and candles.

Pilgrims trace Jesus' path

Meanwhile in Jerusalem

pilgrims from around the world retraced what they believe to be Jesus' original path.

They carried large wooden crosses to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christians believe Romans crucified Christ before burying his corpse in a cave, from which he emerged on Easter Sunday.

Pilgrims re-enacted scenes from the Bible, although not the crucifixion itself.

Good Friday is the second of four days in the Christian calendar which mark the death of Jesus Christ, culminating on Easter Sunday.

On Saturday, thousands are expected to gather in Rome again to hear Pope Francis lead an Easter vigil in St Peter's Basilica.

The Pope will then celebrate Easter mass in St Peter's Square on Sunday.

ccp/crh (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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