On Sunday, Pope Francis sent an annual Easter message “Urbi et Orbi” (“City and World”) to a small group of believers inside St. Peter’s Basilica, while coronavirus pandemic bans kept the usual audience of about 70,000 pilgrims away from St. Peter’s Square for a second year.
The Pope sent the message after presiding over the Easter Mass in the presence of about 200 believers.
Francis spoke of the economic and social difficulties that many people, especially the poor, are experiencing due to the pandemic, which has recently worsened in Italy and much of Europe. He also addressed ongoing armed conflicts, unrest and increased military spending in Myanmar, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria and other regions and states.
As in the past, the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics called on the international community “in a spirit of global responsibility” to ensure everyone has access to vaccines, which he called a “basic tool” in the fight against pandemics. Delivery delays had to be overcome to “facilitate their distribution, especially in the poorest countries,” Francis said.
He called on all governments to take care of many people who have lost their jobs and experienced economic difficulties due to the pandemic, as well as those who lack “adequate social protection”.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic has dramatically increased the number of poor and the despair of thousands of people,” he said.
The pope also noted the difficulties of young people, “forced to go longer without attending school or university or spending time with their friends.” He acknowledged the children who wrote meditations on Good Friday for the procession of the Way of the Cross lit by torches, which took place this year in front of the Basilica instead of the Colosseum, which spoke of the loneliness and sorrow resulting from the pandemic.
“The Risen Christ is the hope for all who continue to suffer from the pandemic, both the sick and those who have lost a loved one,” Francis said.