Pope presides at Vatican Mass leading Catholics into Easter
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Saturday led Easter rites commemorating what Christians believe was Jesus' resurrection from the dead, and urged people to rediscover direction in their lives.
Marking the second Easter season of his pontificate, the Argentine pope said a solemn Mass before some 10,000 people in St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church in Christendom.
The immense basilica was in darkness for the start of the service to signify the darkness in Jesus' tomb between his death and resurrection.
The faithful held lit candles as the pope walked up the main aisle, and then the basilica's lights were turned on in a blaze.
Signifying the end of the penitential season of Lent, which began on March 5 with Ash Wednesday, the basilica's great bells rang out at about the mid-point of the Mass, just as a rain storm hit the Italian capital.
During Saturday night's service the pope maintained an Easter vigil tradition by baptizing 10 people, including three Italian boys and eight adults aged between 34 and 58 from Italy, Belarus, Senegal, Lebanon, France and Vietnam.
In his homily, the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics recounted the Biblical story of how the faith of the apostles had been shaken after Jesus' death but confirmed by the women who found his tomb empty after his resurrection.
"Their faith had been utterly shaken, everything seemed over, all their certainties had crumbled and their hopes had died. But now that message of the women, incredible as it was, came to them like a ray of light in the darkness," he said. Continued...