VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis celebrated Easter Mass on Sunday, marking the most joyful moment of the year for the faithful even as the church faced a fresh round of bloodshed targeting Christians in Sri Lanka.
Hours after celebrating a late-night vigil, Francis processed into a flower-decked St. Peter’s Square for the liturgy commemorating the resurrection of Christ after his crucifixion.
Francis didn’t deliver a homily. But after Mass he is to deliver his annual Easter “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world”) speech about conflicts and other difficulties around the world.
This year the Easter season has been marred both by the destruction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris by fire last week and the massacre on Sunday in Sri Lanka. More than 130 people were killed and hundreds wounded following near-simultaneous blasts at three Sri Lankan churches during Easter Sunday services and three hotels frequented by foreigners.
The Vatican didn’t immediately explain why Francis skipped the homily on Sunday.
However, the 82-year-old Francis has just completed an exhausting few days of Holy Week commemorations, including travelling to a prison outside Rome to wash the feet of inmates on Holy Thursday, presiding over the Way of the Cross procession at Rome’s Colosseum on Good Friday and celebrating the Easter Vigil late Saturday night in St. Peter’s Basilica.