Pope Francis presides over Easter Sunday Mass amidst health concerns

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Pope Francis presided over Easter celebrations on Sunday which saw 60,000 people seeking his blessings, after suffering from respiratory problems throughout the winter season. The Pope used the opportunity to urge Russia and Ukraine to facilitate a prisoner swap between themselves, while also asking Israel and Hamas to work towards a ceasefire in Gaza.

St Peter’s square was adorned with a flower decorated deck from which the Pope presided over the proceedings before delivering a moving prayer which wished for peace in the world, as he also spoke of the state of crisis the globe finds itself in.

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As a part of the proceedings, he used the popemobile to make several rounds of the piazza, to greet and bless the many well wishers who congregated to get a glimpse of him.

Pope Francis’ words reached the hearts of the people present there when he said, “Peace is never made with weapons, but with outstretched hands and open hearts.”

Even though the Pope had celebrated the night-time Easter Vigil just a few hours prior to attending the Easter Mass, he was energetic and seemed to enjoy the festivities.

One of the reasons why the Pope has been having respiratory issues is down to the fact that a section of one of his lungs was removed when he was younger, which left him vulnerable to such issues in his older years.

This is why his presence at this year’s Easter celebrations was in doubt, especially after he failed to make it to the Good Friday Procession.

The Mass was an eventful affair, attended by 60,000 people, while throngs of people also occupied the Via della Conciliazione boulevard, which leads to the piazza. Interestingly, a strong gust of wind managed to upended a religious icon not far from where the pope was seated as proceedings began but was quickly brought back to its original position by ushers.

Easter Mass celebrated Jesus’ resurrection after he was crucified and is one of the most significant days on the liturgical calendar. The mass is followed by the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing in which the Pope usually lists the many threats that humanity faces at any given point of time.

For this year, the Pope spoke of the situation in Gaza and the Ukraine war, focusing specifically on the many children who have been affected by these conflicts and how their circumstances have stolen their joy.

He went on to state the following, “In calling for respect for the principles of international law, I express my hope for a general exchange of all prisoners between Russia and Ukraine: all for the sake of all!”

He also appealed to Hamas to let the Israeli prisoners captured during the October 7th attack return to their homes and asked the Israelis to allow aid to flow freely into Gaza while also seeking a ceasefire for the sake of the civilians who are at risk as the two sides continue to fight.

He also reminded the congregation of the hardships faced by Haitians, the Rohingya and victims of human trafficking, stating the following, “Let us not allow the current hostilities to continue to have grave repercussions on the civil population, by now at the limit of its endurance, and above all on the children.”

This speech by Pope Francis was a departure from the manner in which he has been speaking lately, as he usually gives short and concise speeches so as not to strain his lungs. He also avoided his Palm Sunday homily last week and decided not to attend the Good Friday procession at the Colosseum.

The Vatican stated that the decision was made in light of the Pope’s health condition and that it was necessary that he was given the time to rest and conserve his energy.

Thankfully, Pope Francis was feeling much better and made his appearance felt by reciting the prayers of the Saturday night Easter Vigil service which is a lengthy affair and also administered the sacraments of baptism and First Communion to eight new Catholics.

He also presided over the Easter Sunday Mass, as mentioned earlier, and delivered his speech eloquently.

Pope Francis’ appearance at this event has been likened to King Charles’ decision to join the Queen and other members of the Royal Family for Easter Service at Windsor Castle after it was announced that he was suffering from cancer and stayed away from the public eye since.

Ana Allen
Ana Allenhttp://writeups24.com
Anna Allen, news writer at Writeups24, is a Harvard graduate with a passion for journalism. With her keen eye for detail and insatiable curiosity, she captures the essence of global stories. Anna's writing informs and delves into cultural nuances. To reach Anna, you can email contact@writeups24.com

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