“Darkness and death do not have the last word,” Pope Francis said in his Easter Vigil on Saturday evening, stressing that Easter is an announcement of hope.
“Over these weeks, we have kept repeating ‘All will be well’, clinging to the beauty of our humanity and allowing words of encouragement to rise up from our hearts,” the Pope said. “But as the days go by and fears grow, even the boldest hope can dissipate.” Despite the sad days, “we can and must hope,” he stressed.
The Pope recently joined the United Nations in appealing for an immediate global ceasefire to protect the most vulnerable civilians in conflict-affected countries in the face of the new Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Let us silence the cries of death, no more wars! May we stop the production and trade of weapons, since we need bread, not guns” he urged in Saturday’s homily, delivered from Saint Peter’s Basilica.
Given the situation created by the coronavirus pandemic, only about a dozen celebrants, and an equal number of worshippers attended the homily, while no-one was baptized at the traditional Easter Vigil Mass.
The Pope delivered his Easter Sunday “Urbi et orbi” blessing from an almost empty St. Peter’s Basilica, unlike last year, when about 70,000 worshippers flocked there to hear him.
The huge Saint Peter’s Square is usually packed with people each year when the Pope presides, just before that prayer, over the Easter Mass, the most important liturgy in the Christian tradition, which celebrates the resurrection of Christ.
This year the Mass was held inside the basilica and live-streamed.