Pope celebrates Easter Vigil in St Peter’s Basilica

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At the solemn Easter Vigil in St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis recalled the hope of the resurrection. The 87-year-old read the sermon himself despite his current health difficulties.

He celebrated the vigil sitting down; he also recited the prayers sitting down and with a firm voice, as well as the sermon. He also baptised eight adults from four countries during the service.
The Pope’s sermon on Saturday evening was about the women who, according to the Bible, go to Jesus’ tomb after his death, which was supposed to be sealed by a large stone. When they arrive, however, they realise that the stone has been rolled aside and that Jesus has risen from the dead.

An arc to the present
St Francis drew a connection to the present: “Sometimes we have the feeling that a tombstone has been rolled in front of the entrance to our heart, suffocating life, extinguishing confidence, imprisoning us in the tomb of fears and bitterness and blocking our path to joy and hope.”

Then, we must look to Jesus. “After accepting our humanity, he descended into the abyss of death and crossed it in the power of his divine life, opening an immeasurable gap of light for each one of us.”

Because of Jesus’ resurrection, “no experience of failure and pain, no matter how much it hurts us, can have the last word on the meaning and destiny of our lives if we allow Jesus to take us by the hand”.

Pope attends service despite health problems
In the run-up to the service, there were concerns as to whether the Pope would be able to attend. The 87-year-old had cancelled his participation in the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum in Rome on Good Friday at short notice due to his ailing health. He has been suffering from a respiratory infection for more than a month.

During the Easter Vigil, the church commemorates the resurrection of Jesus three days after his death on the cross. Around 6,000 people attended the service in St. Peter’s Basilica. The priest, Massimiliano Boiardi, a member of the papal ceremonial office, celebrated at the altar.

  • source: religion.ORF.at/KAP/picture: screenshot – orf.at
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