The mercy of God is the only response to the many wounds of mankind: in the Easter message to the city and the world on Sunday, 27 March, Pope Francis renewed his prayerful wishes of peace and hope, taking the side of all those who suffer from any type of violence. This prayer left its mark on the two Easter celebrations presided by the Pontiff: the Vigil on Saturday evening and the Mass on Sunday morning.
Francis spoke from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica at precisely 12:00 noon, after having celebrated Mass on the parvis at 10:30. Cardinal Deacon Renato Raffaele Martino and Cardinal Deacon Franc Rodé were beside him as he imparted the blessing to which the plenary indulgence was extended.
As customary, the Square and the parvis in particular were decorated with more than 35 thousand trees, plants, branches and flowers which, for the 31st consecutive year were offered by Dutch nurseries. The tradition was inaugurated in 1985, when they transformed St Peter’s Square into a veritable flower garden for the beatification of their compatriot, Carmelite Titus Brandsma. This year the decoration evoked the essential messages of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy and of the encyclical Laudato Si’.
Prayers for Christians who experience hardship and trial and for the conversion of those who work evil were also raised at the celebration of the Easter Vigil, which began in the Vatican Basilica at 8:30 pm on Saturday evening, 26 March. During the rite, Francis administered the sacraments of Christian initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist – to 12 adults who had undergone intense experiences of conversion. The youngest was Li Zhang, a 21-year-old Chinese woman, who chose the name Maria Stella. Also among the neophytes were six Albanians (Bernarda and Dasara Dervishi, Flora and Gjovalin Gjikolas, Herjola Rrapaj and Ylli Taci), an Indian man (Sandeep Mahajan), a Cameroonian woman (Francine Fotsa Ngueti) and an Italian woman (Desirèe Di Porto). It was particularly meaningful that Yong-Joon Lee, Ambassador of South Korea to Italy, and his wife Hee Kim also received the sacraments from the Pope. Acting as Godparents to Stefano and Stella (these are the names names they had chosen) were the Ambassador of Korea to the Holy See and his wife,
St. Peter’s Square
Jan. 17, 2019
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