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Pope Francis leads Easter Sunday Mass to a large crowd in Vatican Square

Pope Francis A mass celebration opened on Easter Sunday with dozens of prelates and thousands of pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square, where spring flowers brightened the vast space.

Orange-red tulips, yellow sprays of forsythia and daffodils and other colorful seasonal blooms were trucked in from the Netherlands on Saturday and placed in planters to decorate Vatican Square, which filled Sunday with Romans and Holy Week visitors. City.

About 45,000 people gathered at the beginning of the mid-morning mass, according to the Vatican security service.

At the beginning of the Easter ceremony inspired by the core Christian belief that Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion, Francis sprinkled holy water and recited the words of the ritual in Latin, becoming somewhat exhausted.

Vatican Pope Easter

Pope Francis delivers the plenary ‘Urbi et Orbi’ (for the city and the world) blessing from the central lodge of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican at the end of Easter Sunday Mass, Sunday, April 9, 2023.

Alessandra Tarantino/AP

A canopy at the edge of the square’s steps sheltered the pope, who returned to the public eye 12 hours after a 2.25-hour-long Easter vigil at St. Peter’s Basilica the night before.

still Recovery from bronchitisFrancis, 86, skipped the traditional Good Friday procession at Rome’s Colosseum due to unseasonably cold nighttime temperatures.

Sunday was windy, but temperatures rose quickly after a day of rain and gusty winds in Rome.

At the end of the mass, Francis was prepared to give a speech that popes give at Christmas and Easter. Known by its Latin name, “urbi et orbi”, meaning to the city and the world, the message is often an occasion to denounce war and injustice around the world, including religious persecution.

Francis is back to normal after a three-day stay in a Rome hospital last week where he was given intravenous antibiotics for bronchitis. He was released on April 1. Except for leaving the Colosseum route for cross torch-lit processions, he stuck to a heavy schedule of Holy Week public appearances.

The last time a pope missed Holy Week events was in 2005, when ailing Pope John Paul II silently watched the Way of the Cross ceremony on TV in his apartment in the Apostolic Palace. He died eight days later.

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