St. Peter’s Basilica interiors (Photo: Son of Groucho, CC BY2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Easter Sunday, undoubtedly one of the most important dates in the Christian religion, is jubilantly welcomed every year by millions of Christians worldwide. Countless numbers of events take place to rejoice the resurrection of Christ. However, as you may imagine, very few events can outshine, and in fact outnumber, the enormous celebration hosted by the Vatican City.
Around 150,000 Christians got together on the 20th of April in St. Peter’s Square to commemorate the day that Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion. Everyone, from families with young children to elderly couples, stood outside the sunny plaza to hear the Pope offer the Easter Sunday mass, and later go inside St. Peter’s Basilica to pay their respects.
Before the mass commenced, Pope Francis, who is the first non-European pope in over 1300 years, was driven around in his popemobile to greet the euphoric masses. He blessed and kissed dozens of babies who were elevated towards him, reminding the people of his awe inspiring humility which he has been known for ever since his 2013 election by the Papal Conclave.
During the 10 a.m. mass, Pope Francis prayed for the Ukraine and Syria, asking that God will “enlighten and inspire initiatives to promote peace.” He also prayed for those in Latin America, mentioning various countries, including his native land, Argentina. As the mass came to an end, the pope said his goodbyes, and the people started dispersing, most of them into a single line starting in St. Peter’s Basilica’s entrance.
It should come as no surprise that the lines formed by the thousands of visitors were nothing short of a two-hour wait. Yet that didn’t stop anyone from joining them. There was a sense of harmony and happiness that no pain could take away, and as the Basilica slowly emptied, the eager visitors from all over the world managed to make their way inside.
After two hours and a half, I made it into the church myself. Sure my legs hurt a bit, but nothing could take away the bliss of knelling in front of the altar. Not long into my entrance, I had the pleasant surprise of witnessing the cardinals walk around the inside of St. Peter’s Basilica, and then give a speech to only a handful of people who were selected to sit down beside the guards. I was lucky enough to be one of those who were chosen to listen to the cardinals, and for an hour they talked about the Church’s history, and its influential leaders such as Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, and of course the ever so graciously giving, Mother Teresa.
Soon after the cardinals’ discourse ended, another Easter Sunday mass was said, and the combination of the light shining through the altar’s mosaic window and the divine voices coming from the choir moved the people to joyful tears – indeed, a fitting way to end the celebration of the resurrection of Christ.
A roving photographer-journalist,
Gabriela works for Guidepost.
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