• Pope calls for a 'contagion' of Easter hope, peace, care for poor 

    In an Easter celebration like no other, Pope Francis prayed that Christ, "who has already defeated death and opened for us the way to eternal salvation," would "dispel the darkness of our suffering humanity and lead us into the light of his glorious day, a day that knows no end."

    The pope's traditional Easter message before his blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world) still mentioned countries yearning for peace, migrants and refugees in need of a welcoming home and the poor deserving of assistance.

    But his Easter prayers April 12 were mostly in the context of the suffering and death caused by the coronavirus and the economic difficulties the pandemic already has triggered.

    The pope's Easter morning Mass was unique; missing were dozens of cardinals concelebrating and tens of thousands of pilgrims from around the world packing St. Peter's Square. Instead one cardinal -- Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica -- and a dozen faithful sat inside, one in each pew, before the Altar of the Chair where the pope celebrated the liturgy.

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