VATICAN (AP) – Pope Francis is set to preside over a solemn vigil service to usher in the hope-filled Easter celebrations after a dark week in Europe.
Francis will baptize 12 adults during the Easter Vigil on Saturday night in St. Peter's Basilica. A few hours later he'll preside over Easter Sunday Mass and offer his annual Easter blessing.
Francis is expected to offer a message of hope following his bleak condemnations on Good Friday of the attacks in Brussels and elsewhere by Islamic extremists.
During remarks at the Colosseum capping the "Way of the Cross" procession re-enacting Jesus' crucifixion, Francis denounced the "terrorist acts committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence."
Francis on Friday renewed his condemnation of what he has called indifference and inhospitality to those risking their lives in unseaworthy smugglers' boats in hopes of finding refuge on European shores from war and other violence.
Evoking the image of Jesus on the cross, Francis said: "we see you in the faces of children, of women and people, worn out and fearful, who flee war and violence and who often only find death" and people who refuse to deal with them.
Francis called the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, two major routes for refugees and migrants, "insatiable cemeteries, reflections of our indifferent and anesthetized conscience."
In reference to deadly extremist attacks in Europe, Iraq and elsewhere, Francis denounced "expressions of fundamentalism" and "terrorist acts committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence."
Earlier in the week, Francis called the deadly attacks at a Brussels metro station and airport "cruel abominations."
Like us on Facebook