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Metro Detroit Christians Friday marked the day Jesus Christ was crucified with church services and reflection.

Charles Jenkins, 59, of Owosso was among them.

Jenkins, a mechanic for a power plant, attended the 12:15 p.m. Mass at St. Aloysius Catholic Church on Washington near Michigan Avenue in downtown Detroit.

He said it was especially important to be at the service Friday.

“It marks the murder of the son of man,” he said after Mass on the sidewalk in front of the church. “And coming to Mass on Good Friday is the least I can do to thank God for my existence.”

For Christians like Jenkins, the observance of Good Friday is preparation for Easter Sunday, the day of Christ’s resurrection and the foundation of their faith. Christians believe his sacrifice and resurrection means their sins have been forgiven and they are given eternal salvation.

"We celebrate Jesus' victory today," Brother Loren Connell, St. Aloysius' pastor, told about 100 people during his homily Friday. A Franciscan, Connell was dressed in a brown robe and wore traditional sandals on his feet. "That's how (St.) John interprets Jesus' crucifixion."

The theme of St. Aloysius' Good Friday Mass was "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." About 80 faithful gathered in the church for the Mass.

Connell told parishioners Christ's death frees mankind from slavery.

"His passing pulls out of the slavery we impose on ourselves, pulls us out of our fear, our narrow-mindedness, our apprehension, our greed, our resentments, pulls us out of anything that locks us up in ourselves -- anything that prevents us from living fully the way God wants us to, so we can be a forgiving people," he said. "You and I know we can't do it on our own."

Jenkins said he came to church Friday to pray for himself and others.

"I do it in hopes God will show mercy towards my fellow man regardless of what we've done to each other."

Valerie Wise of Detroit, who is retired from the military, also attended the Mass and said she always goes to church on Good Friday.

"I come to commemorate that Christ was crucified, which he was supposed to do," she said. "If you're a practicing Christian, you attend church on Good Friday. It's a day to reflect and think about how much faith I have."

And how much does she have?

"Oh, I have a lot," she said. "It varies. I had kind of drifted away. But I'm back now."

cramirez@detroitnews.com

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