Pope Francis emphasizes that peace cannot be achieved through weapons during Easter Sunday mass

Rallying from a winter-long struggle with respiratory problems, Pope Francis took the lead in Easter celebrations on Sunday, gathering around 30,000 individuals. In his address, he made a powerful plea for a ceasefire in Gaza and urged for a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine.

Pope Francis celebrated Easter Sunday Mass in a beautifully adorned St. Peter’s Square, where he led a prayer for peace amidst the ongoing global crises. During the ceremony, he took the time to personally greet and acknowledge the well-wishers as he drove around the square in his popemobile.

“Peace is not achieved through the use of weapons, but through the act of extending hands and embracing open hearts,” Francis declared, as he stood on the loggia and looked down upon the square. The crowd below, despite the gusts of wind, erupted into applause at his words.

Despite celebrating the 2½-hour nighttime Easter Vigil just hours before, Francis appeared to be in good shape. The pontiff, who had undergone lung surgery in his youth, has been dealing with respiratory issues throughout the winter.

According to the co-author of a new memoir about the pontiff, Francis considers resignation only when journalists inquire about it, as mentioned in an interview with CBS News.

Fabio Marchese Ragona discussed the concept of resignation in the book and shared an intriguing quote from it. According to him, the individual mentioned, “I am good right now, I don’t think resignation.”

Approximately 30,000 individuals gathered to witness the Mass, according to the Vatican. The Via della Conciliazione boulevard leading to the piazza was also filled with additional attendees. As the service commenced, a strong gust of wind caused a significant religious icon on the altar to topple over, coming dangerously close to the pope. However, ushers promptly rectified the situation by swiftly restoring the icon to its rightful position.

Easter Mass holds great significance in the liturgical calendar as it commemorates Jesus’ resurrection following his crucifixion. The Mass is followed by the pope’s customary “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing, during which the pope addresses various challenges faced by humanity.

Francis expressed his concern for the people in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as those who are living in war-torn areas. He specifically mentioned the children who have been greatly affected by the ongoing conflicts, noting that they have “forgotten how to smile.”

He expressed his hope for a general exchange of all prisoners between Russia and Ukraine, emphasizing the importance of respecting the principles of international law. “All for the sake of all!” he exclaimed.

He urged for the immediate release of prisoners captured from Israel on October 7th, an instant cease-fire in Gaza, and the provision of humanitarian access to Palestinians.

In a heartfelt speech, he expressed his concern about the ongoing hostilities and their devastating impact on the civilian population, particularly the children. He emphasized the urgency of addressing the dire situation and extended his thoughts to other vulnerable groups, such as the Haitians, the Rohingya, and victims of human trafficking.

Over the past few weeks, Francis has been consciously avoiding giving lengthy speeches in order to prevent any strain on his breathing. He made the decision to forgo his Palm Sunday homily last week and, at the last minute, opted to stay home instead of participating in the Good Friday procession at the Colosseum.

The Vatican explained briefly that the decision was made in order to prioritize and preserve his health.

The decision proved to be a successful one, as Francis successfully recited the prayers of the lengthy Saturday night Easter Vigil service. Furthermore, he administered the sacraments of baptism and First Communion to eight new Catholics, and presided over Easter Sunday Mass, where he delivered his speech.

The presence of Francis during Easter provided a reassuring sign of stability and normalcy, and he was not the only leader to do so.

King Charles III made a notable appearance alongside the queen and other members of the royal family at Windsor Castle for an Easter service. This marked his most significant public outing since being diagnosed with cancer last month.

The monarch walked into St. George’s Chapel, cheerfully waving to the spectators. A member of the public greeted him with a shout of “Happy Easter,” to which Charles replied, “And to you.”

In Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre held its Easter Mass amidst the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. However, the service was far from normal, with only a small number of faithful attendees present.

The medieval church located in the Old City holds great significance as the holy site where Christians believe that Jesus was crucified, buried, and ultimately resurrected.

In the past, the church used to be filled with worshippers and tourists. However, the ongoing bloody conflict in Gaza, which has now been going on for six months, has caused a significant decline in tourism and pilgrimages throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The streets of the old city were noticeably devoid of Palestinian Christians from the West Bank, who typically come to the Holy City for Easter. Due to the ongoing conflict, Palestinian worshippers from the Israeli-occupied territory now require special permission to cross checkpoints into Jerusalem.


Related Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *