Pope Francis on Easter Sunday offered a message of hope and prayer for peace in his “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Square.
Speaking to a crowd estimated at 70,000 in the square – and millions more around the world via radio and television – the Holy Father proclaimed that risen Christ and said His message is for every person in the world.
“Today the Church renews the proclamation made by the first disciples: ‘Jesus is risen!’ the Pope said. “And from mouth to mouth, from heart to heart, there resounds a call to praise: ‘Alleluia, Alleluia!'”
The Holy Father turned to the opening words of his recent apostolic exhortation on youth, Christus Vivit, to focus his message not only on young people but on the youth of the Church”
“Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way, he brings youth to our world. Everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life. The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive! He is in you, he is with you and he never abandons you. However far you may wander, he is always there, the Risen One. He calls you and he waits for you to return to him and start over again. When you feel you are growing old out of sorrow, resentment or fear, doubt or failure, he will always be there to restore your strength and your hope” (Christus Vivit, 1-2).
The Holy Father offered his hope for peace in the many areas of the world suffered in conflict. In particular, he mentioned Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan, South Sudan, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.
“Before the many sufferings of our time, may the Lord of life not find us cold and indifferent. May he make us builders of bridges, not walls,” Francis said. “May the One who gives us his peace end the roar of arms, both in areas of conflict and in our cities, and inspire the leaders of nations to work for an end to the arms race and the troubling spread of weaponry, especially in the economically more advanced countries. May the Risen Christ, who flung open the doors of the tomb, open our hearts to the needs of the disadvantaged, the vulnerable, the poor, the unemployed, the marginalized, and all those who knock at our door in search of bread, refuge, and the recognition of their dignity.”