Pope Francis condemns attack on a convoy in Syria


Pope Francis urged an end to "horror and death" in Syria on Sunday as he celebrated the traditional Easter Day mass in Rome. Easter is observed by Christians across the world to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Dozens of cardinals and bishops and other high-ranking prelates were in attendance, along with tens of thousands of faithful, who were subjected to security screenings due to terrorism concerns.

Without mentioning Venezuela by name, Pope Francis also alluded to political and social tensions in Latin America, expressing the hope that the "common good of societies" would prevail.

"We ask you to break the chains that hold us prisoners in our selfishness, in our voluntary blindness and in the futility of our worldly calculations". "Are you prepared to carry this cross?" the pontiff said. Heavy rain lashed down for several minutes around one hour later.

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Pope Francis is leading Easter celebrations in front of thousands of pilgrims who have gathered in St Peter's Square in the Vatican. The Western Christian church follows the Gregorian calendar, while the Eastern Orthodox uses the older Julian calendar, so the two Easters are often weeks apart. But Francis addressed a concern likely on the minds of many Catholics on this religious holiday as they witness what seems like daily images of war, terrorism and starvation in every corner of the globe: Why is tragedy so common if Jesus rose from the dead to forgive the sins of the world, the central belief behind Easter?

On Friday, the pontiff led the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession at the Colosseum.

In his homily at an Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, Francis recounted the Biblical account of Jesus Christ's mother Mary and Mary Magdalene, filled with grief, as they went to visit his tomb following the crucifixion.

Sunday also marks the 90th birthday of Francis' predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.