Over 45,000 pilgrims filled a sunny St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday morning.
The Catholic faithful were joined by tens of thousands of flowers from the Netherlands, which adorned the steps leading up to the Vatican Basilica and continued an annual tradition begun in 1985.
Pope Francis presided over the Mass on the Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord, better known as Easter Sunday.
The Pope did not deliver a homily at the Sunday morning Mass, since he had already delivered his reflections the night before.
At the Easter Vigil Mass, Pope Francis had reflected on the surprise and joy of the women who visited the tomb where Jesus had been laid.
Instead of Jesus’ lifeless body, the women found an empty tomb and an angel who told them that He had been raised from the dead.
As the Pope added, the women “went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to His disciples.”
In the same way, he added, Easter should motivate all Christians to “leave behind our sense of defeat, to roll away the stone of the tombs in which we often imprison our hope, and to look with confidence to the future, for Christ has risen and has changed the direction of history.”
In spite of our dreary routine, said Pope Francis, we must harness the power of Easter to revive the “beauty of that moment we realized that He is alive and we made Him the Lord of our lives.”
The Pope’s Mass on Sunday morning wrapped up a whirlwind Paschal Triduum—or three days of Easter.
Despite spending three nights in hospital to receive treatment for bronchitis and being discharged only on 1 April, Pope Francis has presided over nearly every public engagement on his schedule.
The only event he followed from his home at the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta was the Way of the Cross held at Rome’s Colosseum on Good Friday.
The Holy See Press Office had announced the Pope would not attend due to the harsh cold.