Pope urges hope amid ‘darkness’ of pandemic in Easter vigil


For the second yr in a row, the Vatican minimize out the standard sacrament of baptism for a handful of adults to restrict the possibility of contagion. Often an extended, late-night ritual, this yr’s vigil service additionally began sooner than normal to respect Italy’s 10 p.m. COVID-19 curfew.

However the service started within the dramatic manner it all the time does, with the pope lighting a single candle within the darkened basilica after which sharing its flame with others till the pews slowly start to twinkle and the basilica’s lights are turned on.

In his homily, Francis stated Easter affords a message of hope and new begins.

“In these darkish months of the pandemic, allow us to hearken to the risen Lord as he invitations us to start anew and by no means lose hope,” he stated. “It’s all the time doable to start anew, as a result of there’s a new life that God can awaken in us despite all our failures.”

Francis, who once more eschewed a facemask, limped significantly by means of the service, in an indication that he’s struggling by means of a protracted bout of sciatica nerve ache.

On Sunday, Francis is to preside over Easter Mass earlier than a equally small group of devoted and ship his conventional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing “to town and the world.” Often the Easter Mass and blessing is well known earlier than tens of 1000’s of individuals in a flower-decked St. Peter’s Sq..

However this yr Francis will rejoice the service within the basilica and ship the blessing from the altar, to stop crowds from forming within the piazza.

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