In the Easter message, Pope Francis urges people not to ‘yield to fear’

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis urged people to “not yield to fear” and focused on a “message of hope” as he led an Easter eve Mass in an empty St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic and called for an end to wars.

The vigil, which normally takes place in a church packed with about 10,000 people, was attended by only about two dozen, including a few altar servers and a smaller-than-usual choir. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, it was scaled back to eliminate several traditional features, such as the baptism of adult converts and a long procession up the main aisle of Christendom’s largest church.

Francis drew a comparison between the Gospel account of the women who found Jesus’ tomb empty on the day Christians believe he rose from the dead and the uncertain state of the world today because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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