Pope's Easter Mass and Blessing Attract 150,000 Faithful

35,000 Flowers Decorate St. Peter’s

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Celebrating the Easter Sunday liturgy in St. Peter’s Square, Francis emphasized that the Resurrection is the event that gives Christianity its meaning. Without it, he said, “the whole mission of the Church would lose its impulse.”

Creating a bridge between Eastern and Western Catholics, the Gospel of the 90-minute papal liturgy, which began at 10am, were chanted in both Latin and Greek. After this chanting, the Pontifical Russian College choir sang the Paschal stichera, which is customary at papal Easter liturgies when Easter falls on the same day for both Western and Eastern Christians. The stichera are a series of hymns from the Byzantine rite, which summarize a paschal homily of St. Gregory of Nazianzus.

The Mass closed with the Regina Caeli, the Marian Antiphon which is prayed throughout the Easter season, as it reflects on Jesus’ Resurrection, instead of the Angelus, which reflects on Jesus’ Incarnation.

After the Easter Message, the Pope imparted his blessing Urbi et Orbi, to the city of Rome and to the world. The Pope concluded by thanking 30 Dutch florists who donated more than 35,000 flowers to decorate St. Peter’s Square and the area surrounding the altar. The floral display this year included 12,000 tulips, 6,000 daffodils, 2,500 hyacinths, 15,000 narcissus, and 2,500 white roses.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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