Pope Francis returns to public eye for Easter vigil Mass

Pope Francis returned to public view on Saturday, presiding over Easter vigil Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, a day after he skipped Good Friday’s nighttime procession because of unseasonably chilly weather in Rome.

The evening basilica service began in darkness. Then the basilica’s cavernous interior was suddenly bathed in light, reflecting the Christian beliefs that Jesus rose from his death by crucifixion and that goodness can triumph over evil.

The ailing pontiff is recuperating from bronchitis, which saw him hospitalised on 29 March for three days. On Sunday, tens of thousands of faithful are expected to join the pope in St Peter’s Square for Easter Mass at the end of Holy Week.

In his homily, the 86-year-old pope sought to spur Catholics to be renewed by Easter.

“At times, we may simply feel weary about our daily routine, tired of taking risks in a cold, hard world where only the clever and the strong seem to get ahead,” he said. 

”At other times, we may feel helpless and discouraged before the power of evil.”

He cited other sources of discouragement: “the attitudes of calculation and indifference that seem to prevail in society, the cancer of corruption, the spread of injustice, the icy winds of war.”

But Easter “motivates us to move forward, to leave behind our sense of defeat, to roll away the stone of the tombs in which we often imprison our hope,” Francis added.

His stamina appeared to hold during the vigil, which lasted for more than two hours.

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