POPE LEADS EASTER MASS IN ST. PETER'S SQUARE

Mar. 31, 2013

Pope Francis, holding the pastoral staff, celebrates the Easter mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, March 31, 2013. "Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness, and that is where death is," he said. "Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life!" said Pope Francis during the Easter vigil. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is celebrating his first Easter Sunday Mass as pontiff in St. Peter's Square, which is packed by joyous pilgrims, tourists and Romans.

Francis strode onto the flower-bedecked esplanade in front of St. Peter's Basilica. Tens of thousands of faithful had already filled the square hours before the Mass began in mid-morning. Francis bowed his head in reflection as the Gospel was sung in Latin, recounting what Christians believe is the central mystery of their faith — the resurrection of Jesus after this death by crucifixion.

A white canopy sheltered the altar on the steps. After heavy rain battered Rome during the night, more was forecast. But Sunday saw sunny skies alternate with clouds.

After Mass ends, Francis will give his blessing and speech from the basilica's balcony.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/pope-leads-easter-mass-st-peters-square

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