Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, empty of faithful and assisted by a handful of attendants.
The Mass, which was livestreamed and sung mostly in Latin, was celebrated for the tens of thousands who could not attend in person.
New York Times reported that last year, an estimated 70,000 faithful crammed into St. Peter’s Square on Easter morning to hear the Pope deliver his “Urbi et Orbi” (“To the City and to the World”) message after Easter Mass.
This is not the same this year as people are prohibited to gather in the square because of the coronavirus outbreak.
In his message, the Pope preached hope as the world is suffering from physical and economic difficulty in the pandemic.
He acknowledged that for many, “this is an Easter of solitude lived amid the sorrow and hardship that the pandemic is causing, from physical suffering to economic difficulties.”
He said his thoughts were with those directly affected by the virus, most importantly doctors and nurses, the sick, those who had died and family members in mourning.
“A world already faced with epochal challenges and now oppressed by a pandemic severely testing our whole human family,” Mr Francis spoke of “the contagion of hope.”
“God is with us, he said, “firmly reassuring us: Do not be afraid, I have risen and I am with you still.”
He acknowledged the concerns of many people who face an uncertain economic future and fears surrounding unemployment.
He called on political leaders to work actively for the common good and to provide the means and resources needed to enable everyone to lead a dignified life.
“This is not a time for indifference,” Mr Francis said, “because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic,” he said.
In Britain, Queen Elizabeth II in her Easter message on Saturday night said the holiday was a time of “light overcoming darkness.”
“We know that coronavirus will not overcome us,” the queen said. “As dark as death can be, particularly for those suffering with grief, light and life are greater. May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future,” she added.