Cardinal Edward Egan, who recently got out of the hospital, preached at a Good Friday service at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan.
The noon service focused on the Seven Last Words of Christ.
Prior to the service, Egan said he was feeling "pretty good" but has not completely recovered from a recent health scare.
"I understand (at) Easter time you are supposed to be willing to bear crosses," he said.
But he's determined to lead worshippers through his last Holy Week before retiring as head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.
On Thursday, he celebrated Holy Thursday Mass. He also plans to lead Easter Mass at the cathedral.
Egan, who's 77, said he went to the hospital with a severe gastrointestinal virus. While treating him, doctors suggested a pacemaker for a heart condition. He plans to consult more doctors about his options.
Egan's successor, Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan, is to be installed Wednesday. He will take over the most important U.S. post in the Roman Catholic Church, serving 2.5 million Catholics in much of New York City and its northern suburbs.