Pope Francis appeals for peace to a crowd during Easter celebrations

He Pope Francisco on Sunday he called Peace and urged not to give in to “the logic of weapons” after celebrating mass in front of a crowd. Easter inside Vaticanreassuring rumors about his fragile health.

“Let us not allow the ongoing hostilities to continue to seriously impact the already exhausted civilian population, especially children. How much suffering we see in their eyes. With their eyes they ask us: Why? Why so much death? “Why so much destruction?” explained the Pope during his “Urbi et Orbi” blessing.

The 87-year-old Argentine Jesuit reflected on the various conflicts plaguing the world and reiterated his call for the release of the Israeli hostages and an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, at a time when a new round of negotiations for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas begins.

He also called for a “general exchange of all prisoners between Russia and Ukraine” who have been at war since February 2022, when Moscow invaded the former Soviet republic.

“War is always an absurdity and a defeat. Let us not allow the winds of war to blow ever stronger across Europe and the Mediterranean. “Let us not give in to the logic of weapons and rearmament,” he declared from the balcony of the St. St. Peter’s Basilica.

A few minutes earlier, Francis greeted and blessed the almost 60,000 believers present in St. Peter’s Square on board his “Popemobile” and to shouts of joy.

“Long live the Pope!” some pilgrims shouted while holding cell phones or waving flags next to an important security device.

Dressed entirely in white, the head of the Catholic Church arrived in a wheelchair to the altar, which, as every year, was decorated with a variety of floral decorations.

Holy Week in Rome

On Friday, the pope canceled his participation in the traditional Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum at the last minute, sparking renewed concerns about his health.

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The Vatican argued the decision was made “to preserve his health before the vigil” on Holy Saturday and “the Mass on Easter Sunday.”

And on Saturday Francisco actually led the two and a half hour ceremony in the presence of 6,000 believers normally and without any signs of fatigue. He also gave a ten-minute sermon in Italian without any apparent difficulty.

The last-minute cancellation, when the papal chair had already been placed in the Colosseum, and the Vatican’s laconic announcement helped fuel concerns about Jorge Bergoglio’s failing health.

Holy Week, one of the pillars of the Catholic liturgical calendar, includes numerous ceremonies that end with Easter and can be compared to a marathon for an octogenarian who has been in a wheelchair for two years.

In recent days, Francis fulfilled his obligations, leading the celebration of Christ’s Passion for nearly two hours on Friday afternoon before canceling his presence at the Stations of the Cross.

But lately he has seemed tired and has had to delegate the reading of his speeches several times because of bronchitis, which forced him to undergo an examination at a hospital in Rome at the end of February.

He also canceled the reading of his Palm Sunday sermon without giving any explanation.

Despite undergoing major abdominal surgery in 2023, Francis, who never takes vacation, continues his hectic pace of work at the Vatican, where he can host a dozen interlocutors in a single morning.

However, he has not traveled since his visit to Marseille in the south of France in September and had to cancel his participation in COP28 in Dubai in December due to bronchitis.

His announced trip to the borders of Asia and Oceania this summer, which the Vatican has not yet formalized, seems more uncertain than ever.

However, Indonesia announced this Sunday that the Pope would travel to the archipelago in September.

SPRING: AFP

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