Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
 
 
Pope Celebrates Easter With Big Crowd  04/20 14:08

   Marking Christianity's most hopeful day, Pope Francis made an Easter Sunday 
plea for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria, for an end to terrorist 
attacks against Christians in Nigeria and for more attention to the hungry and 
neediest close to home.

   VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Marking Christianity's most hopeful day, Pope Francis 
made an Easter Sunday plea for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria, for an 
end to terrorist attacks against Christians in Nigeria and for more attention 
to the hungry and neediest close to home.

   Well over 150,000 tourists --- Romans and pilgrims, young and old --- turned 
out for the Mass that Francis celebrated at an altar set up under a canopy on 
the steps of St. Peter's Basilica.

   So great were their numbers that they overflowed from sprawling St. Peter's 
Square, which was bedecked with row after row of potted daffodils, sprays of 
blue hyacinths and bunches of white roses. Waving flags from the pope's native 
Argentina as well as from Brazil, Mexico, Britain, Poland and many other 
countries, they also filled the broad boulevard leading from the square to the 
Tiber River.

   Easter is the culmination of Holy Week and marks Christian belief that Jesus 
rose from the dead after his crucifixion.

   Francis noted that this year the Catholic church's celebration of Easter 
coincided with that of Orthodox churches, which have many followers in Ukraine.

   Francis prayed that God would "enlighten and inspire the initiatives that 
promote peace in Ukraine, so that all those involved, with the support of the 
international community, will make every effort to prevent violence."

   In eastern Ukraine, the holiday was marred by a deadly shooting Sunday 
fueled by tensions between pro-Russian supporters in the east and those loyal 
to an interim government in Kiev. The clash appeared to defy an international 
agreement reached last week in hopes of ending months of unrest.

   Francis also prayed that all sides in Syria will be moved to "boldly 
negotiate the peace long awaited and long overdue." Syria has been wracked by a 
three-year civil war that has cost 150,000 lives and forced millions to flee 
the country.

   Christians make up about 5 percent of Syria's population. In comments to 
mark Easter there, the Greek Orthodox patriarch vowed that Christians there 
"will not submit" to extremists who attack "our people and holy places."

   Francis makes a pilgrimage to Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Israel 
next month, so on Easter he prayed that hopes sparked by the resumption of 
Mideast peace negotiations will be sustained.

   Thousands of pilgrims from around the world flocked to the celebrate Easter 
in the Holy Land, where Christian communities, as well as elsewhere in the 
Middle East, have been declining as the faithful flee regional turmoil.

   Francis also spoke of those suffering in Africa from an epidemic of deadly 
Ebola and urged a halt to "brutal terrorist attacks" in parts of Nigeria.

   Nigerians marked Easter with heightened security against a spreading Islamic 
uprising, mourning the deaths of 75 bomb blast victims and fearful of the fate 
of 85 abducted schoolgirls. The homegrown terror network Boko Haram has claimed 
responsibility for last week's rush-hour explosion in the capital, Abuja, and 
threatened more attacks.

   In Venezuela, there have been hopes Vatican mediation can help end the 
country's violent political unrest, and Francis urged that "hearts be turned to 
reconciliation and fraternal concord" there.

   But Francis' Easter message also urged people to pay attention to the needy 
close to home. He said the "good news" of Easter's joy means "leaving ourselves 
behind and encountering others, being close to those crushed by life's 
troubles, sharing with the needy, standing at the side of the sick, elderly and 
the outcast."

   He denounced the "scourge of hunger," which he said was "aggravated by 
conflicts and by the immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible."

   Francis has set an austere tone in his papacy, forsaking an ornate apostolic 
palace apartment for a simple guesthouse on the Vatican grounds and rejecting 
limousines for regular cars.

   Cheering and applauding, the crowd tried to catch a glimpse of the pontiff 
as he circled around in his white popemobile before going to the basilica's 
balcony to deliver his commentary.

   Reflecting the worldwide reach of the Catholic church, faithful read aloud 
prayers and passages from the Bible in Hindi, French, Chinese, German, Korean, 
Spanish, Italian and English.


(KA)


 
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN