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Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St. Peter’s Square for Easter 2022

April 17, 2022 Catholic News Agency 1
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St. Peter’s Square for Easter 2022 / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City, Apr 17, 2022 / 04:00 am (CNA).

Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated Easter Mass for around 50,000 people in St. Peter’s Square — the first Easter Mass with the public after two years of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

On a sunny and windy morning in Rome, Pope Francis also participated in the “Resurrexit,” an ancient rite honoring an icon of the Holy Savior.

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St. Peter's Square for Easter 2022. Daniel Ibanez/CNA
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St. Peter’s Square for Easter 2022. Daniel Ibanez/CNA

The ritual sequence, sung in Latin, recalls how the apostle Peter, of whom the pope is the successor, was one of the first witnesses to Christ’s resurrection, after St. Mary Magdalene.

While the “Resurrexit” was sung, deacons opened the panels of the icon of the Holy Savior next to the altar.

Pope Francis then sprinkled holy water before proceeding with the rest of Mass.

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St. Peter's Square for Easter 2022. Daniel Ibanez/CNA
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St. Peter’s Square for Easter 2022. Daniel Ibanez/CNA

For Easter 2022, the Vatican’s altar was decorated with flowers from the Netherlands, the continuation of a 37-year tradition.

Pope Francis concelebrated the Easter Sunday Mass with 280 priests, 25 bishops, and 23 cardinals. Students from the North American College Seminary in Rome were ministers at the pope’s Mass.

The Gospel reading, John 20:1-9, was proclaimed in Latin and Greek. The passage recounts the moment in which Mary Magdalene and the apostles Peter and John found the empty tomb after Jesus’ resurrection.

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St. Peter's Square for Easter 2022. Daniel Ibanez/CNA
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St. Peter’s Square for Easter 2022. Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Instead of giving a homily after the Gospel, following a custom of the last few years, Pope Francis kept a silence of several minutes for prayer and reflection.

After the Mass, he greeted the crowds in St. Peter’s Square and the street outside from the Popemobile, before going to the Hall of Blessings.

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Pope Francis marks two years since Urbi et Orbi to end pandemic

March 27, 2022 Catholic News Agency 4
Staff of the Dicastery for Communication distribute books commemorating Pope Francis’ extraordinary Urbi et Orbi during coronavirus at the Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square, March 27, 2022. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Mar 27, 2022 / 16:28 pm (CNA).

After his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis remarked that it was the second anniversary of his offering an Urbi et Orbi blessing shortly early in the coronavirus pandemic.

“Precisely two years ago, in this piazza, we lifted up our plea for the end of the pandemic,” he said March 27 in St. Peter’s Square.

“Today, we have done so for an end to the war in Ukraine. At the Square’s entrances, you will be given a book as a gift, produced by the Vatican Covid-19 Commission with the Dicastery for Communication. It is an invitation to pray without fear during moments of difficulty, always having faith in the Lord.”

Some 10,000 copies of the book, commemorating the extraordinary Urbi et Orbi two years ago, were distributed to the pilgrims in the piazza.

The pope had held a holy hour of Eucharistic adoration followed by an Urbi et Orbi blessing before an empty and rain-covered St. Peter’s Square March 27, 2020.

The holy hour included a reading from the Gospel and a meditation by Pope Francis, who spoke about faith and trust in God during a time when people fear for their lives, as did the disciples when their boat was caught in a violent storm.

“We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love,” Francis said in 2020.

Embracing Christ’s cross, he said, “means finding the courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time.”

“Embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope: that is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope,” the pope stated.

Present during the holy hour was a miraculous crucifix which the pope visited had visited earlier in March 2020 to pray for an end to the pandemic.

The crucifix, which usually hangs in San Marcello al Corso, was venerated as miraculous by Romans after it was the only religious image to survive unscathed from a fire that completely gutted the church on May 23, 1519.

An icon of Mary as Salus Populi Romani was also brought to the square for veneration during the prayer.

At the conclusion of the prayer, Pope Francis gave an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing, and gave benediction with the Blessed Sacrament while the bells of the basilica rang.

In his meditation, Pope Francis entrusted everyone to the Lord through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, “from this colonnade that embraces Rome and the whole world.”

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