Pope Francis emphasizes the futility of making peace with weapons during Easter Sunday mass

Rallying from a winter-long struggle with respiratory issues, Pope Francis took charge of leading around 30,000 individuals in Easter celebrations on Sunday. During this event, he emphasized the urgent need for a cease-fire in Gaza and called for a prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine.

Francis led the Easter Sunday Mass in a beautifully adorned St. Peter’s Square and offered a sincere prayer for peace during his customary reflection on global conflicts. In addition, he graciously greeted supporters as he circled the square in his popemobile.

“Peace is achieved not through the use of weapons, but rather through the extension of hands and the embrace of open hearts,” Francis declared, his voice resonating from the loggia as he looked out over the square. The crowd below, despite the wind sweeping through, erupted in applause in response to his powerful words.

Despite celebrating the 2½-hour nighttime Easter Vigil just hours before, Francis appeared to be in good form. The pontiff, who had undergone surgery to remove part of one lung in his youth, has been grappling with respiratory issues throughout the winter.

According to the co-author of a new memoir of the pontiff, Francis contemplates resignation only when journalists inquire about it (CBS News).

Fabio Marchese Ragona discussed the topic of resignation in the book, emphasizing that the individual in question expressed a sense of contentment and dismissed the idea of stepping down. He stated, “I am good right now, I don’t think resignation.”

Around 30,000 individuals were present at the Mass, according to the Vatican, with many more filling the Via della Conciliazione boulevard, which leads to the piazza. In a rather dramatic moment, as the service commenced, a strong gust of wind toppled a substantial religious icon on the altar, mere feet away from the pope. However, the ushers promptly restored it to its rightful position.

Easter Mass holds great significance on the liturgical calendar as it commemorates the faithful belief in Jesus’ resurrection following his crucifixion. This solemn occasion is followed by the pope’s “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing, during which the pope traditionally addresses the numerous challenges faced by humanity.

This year, Francis expressed his concern for the people in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as those affected by war. He specifically mentioned the children who have been deprived of their smiles due to the hardships they have endured.

He expressed his hope for a general exchange of all prisoners between Russia and Ukraine, emphasizing the importance of respecting the principles of international law. “All for the sake of all!” he added.

He urged for the immediate release of the prisoners captured from Israel on October 7th. Additionally, he called for an instant ceasefire in Gaza and emphasized the necessity of providing humanitarian access to Palestinians.

In a poignant speech, the speaker emphasized the urgent need to prevent the ongoing hostilities from further impacting the vulnerable civilian population, who are already struggling to bear the brunt of the situation. Most importantly, he highlighted the devastating consequences that these conflicts have on innocent children. Additionally, he addressed the challenges faced by Haitians, the Rohingya, and victims of human trafficking, showcasing the widespread humanitarian concerns that demand immediate attention.

Over the past few weeks, Francis has been careful to avoid delivering lengthy speeches in order to prevent any strain on his breathing. Last week, he made the decision to forgo his Palm Sunday homily and, at the last minute, opted to stay home instead of attending the Good Friday procession at the Colosseum.

In a brief explanation, the Vatican stated that the decision to “conserve his health” was made.

Francis’s decision to undertake the lengthy Saturday night Easter Vigil service proved to be a wise one, as he successfully recited the prayers and administered the sacraments of baptism and First Communion to eight new Catholics. He also presided over Easter Sunday Mass and delivered his speech, showcasing his dedication and commitment to his role as the leader of the Catholic Church.

The presence of Francis at Easter not only brought comfort but also symbolized stability and normalcy.

King Charles III made a notable public appearance since being diagnosed with cancer last month, as he joined the queen and other members of the royal family for an Easter service at Windsor Castle in Britain.

Walking into St. George’s Chapel, the monarch greeted spectators with a cheery wave. Amidst the crowd, a member of the public shouted “Happy Easter,” to which Charles replied, “And to you.”

In Jerusalem, the atmosphere was far from normal during the celebration of Easter Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Despite the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, only a small number of devoted individuals were present at the service.

The medieval church in the Old City holds great significance for Christians as it is believed to be the holy site where Jesus was crucified, buried, and ultimately resurrected.

In the past, the church used to be filled with worshippers and tourists. However, the ongoing bloody conflict in Gaza, which has been happening for six months now, has led to a significant drop in tourism and pilgrimages throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The ancient streets of the city were noticeably devoid of Palestinian Christians from the West Bank, who usually gather in the Holy City during Easter. Due to the ongoing conflict, Palestinian worshippers from the Israeli-occupied territory are required to obtain special authorization in order to cross checkpoints and enter Jerusalem.

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