Vatican City, 6 April 2015 (VIS) – At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli, the prayer that substitutes the Angelus during Easter time, with the thousands of faithful and pilgrims reunited in St. Peter's Square. Before reciting the Marian prayer, Francis commented on the day's Gospel reading, remarking that the angel announced to the women in the tomb that Jesus was risen, and asked them to take the news to the disciples and to tell them to go to Galilee, where they would encounter the Messiah. “Today, too, He is with us, here in the square”. The Pope also noted that this is the announcement that the Church has repeated since the very first day. “Christ is risen!” “It is the good news we are called upon to take to others everywhere, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope that He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that the Christian can and must offer to his brethren. … Christ is risen! Let us repeat this in words, but above all with the witness of our life”.
“Let us proclaim Christ's resurrection when His light illuminates the darkest moments of our existence and we are able to share it with others; when we know how to smile with those who smile, and weep with those who weep; when we walk alongside those who are sad and at risk of losing hope; when we recount our experience of faith to those who are in search of meaning and happiness. With our attitude, our witness, our life, we say: Jesus is risen! We say this with all our soul. … Easter is the event that brought radical newness to every human being, for history and for the world: it is the triumph of life over death; it is the celebration of reawakening and regeneration. Let our existence be conquered and transformed by the Resurrection!” concluded the Pope, urging those present to pray to the Virgin Mary to “let the joy of Easter grow in us”.
Following the Regina Coeli prayer, Francis greeted the faithful, wishing them a happy Easter and encouraging them to read a passage from the Gospel every day. He addressed some words to the Shalom Movement, which has reached the final stage of its relay race to raise public awareness of the persecution of Christians throughout the world. “You have reached the end of your itinerary, but we must all continue on the spiritual path of intense prayer, concrete participation and tangible aid in the defence and protection of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted, exiled, killed, decapitated, for the mere fact of being Christians. They are our present-day martyrs, and there are many of them; indeed, we might say that there are more of them than in the first centuries”.
Francis also urged the international community “not to remain silent and inert in the face of this unacceptable crime, which constitutes a worrying erosion of the most elementary human rights. I truly hope that the international community does not look away”.