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Toppo leads Good Friday mass
- In deep reverence

The faithful gathered at Loyola Grounds Thursday afternoon as Cardinal Telesphore P.Toppo retold the Easter story of Christ’s crucifixion some 2000 years ago.

“A tree brought death and destruction to this universe after the first man and woman ate the forbidden fruit and was banished from God’s kingdom. Millions of years later, Jesus Christ was made to carry the heavy branches of another tree to a hill top where he was nailed to death on the two branches that were turned into a cross.

This time, however, the death of Christ opened the doors of heaven for all mankind,” the Cardinal, who led a silent procession carrying a cross, told the gathering.

“Christ was to rise from the dead, two days later, to spread the message of hope, peace and goodwill to the world,” he added.

The Cardinal bowed his head and kissed the cross as a commemoration of the crucifixion of Christ.

“The ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for the world was an example of sacrificial living that Christians must follow. Christ, by making that sacrifice, stripped himself of all privileges and dignity and by so doing showed love to the less privileged and identifying with them,” Toppo stressed.

The Cardinal asked the thousands who had gathered on Good Friday to abstain from pleasure and be concerned not just about their own physical well being but for the spiritual well being of others too.

He pointed out that the world was beset with numerous problems — poverty, illiteracy, malnourishment, growing gaps between rich and poor — and it was time people learnt to be well organised and lead disciplined lives.

Earlier, talking to The Telegraph, Toppo said that he would leave for Israel on Easter Sunday where he is slated to participate in a number of religious functions. The Cardinal will later visit the Vatican to be present at the cannonisation of two former popes, Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.