Pope Francis has called on the faithful to rejoice and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ in spite of the personal and global political crises.

These crises are “boulders of death,” the head of the Catholic Church said at Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Particularly, he mentioned the ruthlessness of hatred and the cruelty of war, which break the longing for world peace, but also selfishness and indifference.

The 87-year-old said Easter would roll away those boulders.

Around 6,000 people attended the celebration to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ in St. Peter’s Basilica.

According to the pontiff, Easter should encourage people and give them hope: “This is the power of God: the victory of life over death, the triumph of light over darkness, the rebirth of hope in the midst of the ruins of failure.”

After Holy Week, the Easter Vigil is a cause for joy, he said.

“Sister, brother, may your heart burst into joy on this holy night!” the pontiff said in his homily.

On the night before Easter Sunday, Christians prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his death on the cross.

At the beginning of the celebration, the Easter candle was carried through St. Peter’s Basilica in a procession in complete darkness – the darkness is intended to symbolise life without faith.

The candles of the priests and faithful were then lit from the Easter candle to the cry of “Lumen Christi,” Latin for the “Light of Christ.”

During the celebration, Francis baptized eight adults: four Italians, two South Koreans, a Japanese man and a woman from Albania.

The pontiff performed the ceremony sitting down.

Francis read his sermon himself, but his voice was hoarse.

On Good Friday, he had surprisingly decided not to take part in the Stations of the Cross service in order to preserve his health.

On Sunday, he plans to preside over the Easter Mass and give the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing for to the city and the world.

Easter: Pope Francis calls for joy, hope

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