Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 21st 2014 Contents VATICAN CITY---Marking Christianity s most hope-
ful day, Pope Francis made an Easter Sunday plea
for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria, for
an end to terrorist attacks against Christians in
Nigeria and for more attention to the hungry and
neediest close to home.
Well over 150,000 tourists---Romans and pilgrims,
young and old---turned out for the Mass that Francis
celebrated at an altar set up under a canopy on the
steps of St. Peter s Basilica.
So great were their numbers that they overflowed
from sprawling St Peter s Square, which was bedecked
with row after row of potted daffodils, sprays of blue
hyacinths and bunches of white roses. Waving flags
from the pope s native Argentina as well as from
Brazil, Mexico, Britain, Poland and many other coun-
tries, they also filled the broad boulevard leading
from the square to the Tiber River.
Easter is the culmination of Holy Week and marks
Christian belief that Jesus rose from the dead after
Francis noted that this year the Catholic church s
celebration of Easter coincided with that of Orthodox
churches, which have many followers in Ukraine.
Francis prayed that God would "enlighten and
inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine,
so that all those involved, with the support of the
international community, will make every effort to
In eastern Ukraine, the holiday was marred by a
deadly shooting Sunday fueled by tensions between
pro-Russian supporters in the east and those loyal
to an interim government in Kiev. The clash appeared
to defy an international agreement reached last week
in hopes of ending months of unrest.
Francis also prayed that all sides in Syria will be
moved to "boldly negotiate the peace long awaited
and long overdue." Syria has been wracked by a three-
year civil war that has cost 150,000 lives and forced
millions to flee the country.
Christians make up about 5 per cent of Syria s
population. In comments to mark Easter there, the
Greek Orthodox patriarch vowed that Christians
there "will not submit" to extremists who attack
"our people and holy places."
Francis makes a pilgrimage to Jordan, the Palestinian
territories and Israel next month, so on Easter he
prayed that hopes sparked by the resumption of
Mideast peace negotiations will be sustained.
Thousands of pilgrims from around the world
flocked to the celebrate Easter in the Holy Land,
where Christian communities, as well as elsewhere
in the Middle East, have been declining as the faithful
flee regional turmoil.
Francis also spoke of those suffering in Africa from
an epidemic of deadly Ebola and urged a halt to
"brutal terrorist attacks" in parts of Nigeria.
Nigerians marked Easter with heightened security
against a spreading Islamic uprising, mourning the
deaths of 75 bomb blast victims and fearful of the
fate of 85 abducted schoolgirls. The homegrown terror
network Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for
last week s rush-hour explosion in the capital, Abuja,
and threatened more attacks.
In Venezuela, there have been hopes Vatican medi-
ation can help end the country s violent political
unrest, and Francis urged that "hearts be turned to
reconciliation and fraternal concord" there.
But Francis Easter message also urged people to
pay attention to the needy close to home. He said
the "good news" of Easter s joy means "leaving our-
selves behind and encountering others, being close
to those crushed by life s troubles, sharing with the
needy, standing at the side of the sick, elderly and
He denounced the "scourge of hunger," which he
said was "aggravated by conflicts and by the immense
wastefulness for which we are often responsible."
Francis has set an austere tone in his papacy, for-
saking an ornate apostolic palace apartment for a
simple guesthouse on the Vatican grounds and reject-
ing limousines for regular cars.
Cheering and applauding, the crowd tried to catch
a glimpse of the pontiff as he circled around in his
white popemobile before going to the basilica s balcony
to deliver his commentary.
Reflecting the worldwide reach of the Catholic
church, faithful read aloud prayers and passages from
the Bible in Hindi, French, Chinese, German, Korean,
Spanish, Italian and English. (AP)
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, April 21, 2014
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Pope Francis, huge crowd
joyously celebrate Easter
Pope Francis spreads incense as he celebrates an
Easter Mass in St Peter's Square at the Vatican
yesterday. Francis is celebrating Christianity's most
joyous day, Easter Sunday, under sunny skies in St
Peter's. AP PHOTO
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