In Easter message, Pope appeals for peace, prays for Syria, Gaza

03 April, 2018, 06:15 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Pope Francis bears the paschal candle during the Easter Vigil Mass at St. Peter's Basilica

Pope Francis called Sunday for an end to "carnage" in Syria and "reconciliation" in the Middle East in his traditional Easter message.

"Speaking about Ukraine, Pope Francis asked for peace for our state and expressed hope that the steps taken to favor harmony may be consolidated and facilitated by the humanitarian initiatives needed by the affected population", the report says.

Francis opened Easter festivities with a tweet to his global flock: "Our faith is born on Easter morning: Jesus is alive!"

Pope Francis said the power of the Christian message gave hope to the deprived.

The Pope made his appeal in his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica to tens of thousands of people in the flower-bedecked square below where he earlier celebrated a Mass.

Pope Francis also talked about tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Much of the pope's speech focused on peace in the Holy Land and across the Middle East.

Palestinian protesters in Gaza demonstrated along the border fence last week, which led to clashes with Israeli police and several protestors being killed.

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"This Easter may the light of the risen Christ illuminate the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage in course".

The Pope made an appeal for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Syria and for peace in both South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"May there be no lack of solidarity with all those forced to leave their native lands and lacking the bare essentials for living", said Francis, who has often championed the causes of migrants and refugees.

Security precautions included bag checks for and the use of metal detector wands on everyone entering the square, while the main avenue leading to the Vatican, as well as smaller adjoining streets, were closed to traffic.

In Jerusalem, hundreds of worshippers filed into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is believed to be the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

A restoration of the edicule was completed last year, aimed at reversing the effects of years of exposure to water, humidity and candle smoke. Western Christian churches celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox.

Information for this article was contributed by staff members of The Associated Press and The New York Times.

John Ogah and seven other adults were baptized during an Easter eve mass for about 10,000 people in St. Peter's Basilica.

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