Pope Francis urged the world to quicken distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly to the world’s poor, and called armed conflict and military spending during a pandemic “scandalous” in his Easter message on Sunday (April 4).
Coronavirus has meant this has been the second successive year that Easter papal services have been attended by small gatherings at a secondary altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, instead of by crowds in the church or in the square outside.
After saying Mass, Francis read his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message, in which he traditionally reviews world problems and appeals for peace.
Sri Lanka’s Catholics attended church services to observe Easter Sunday with church leaders demanding justice for victims of the suicide bomb attacks which killed more than 290 people and injured nearly 500 two years ago on Easter Sunday.
Parishioners of Catholic churches across this Indian Ocean Island attended midnight mass amidst growing anger that those responsible have not been prosecuted even two years after the incident.
The main service was held at the cathedral in Colombo. Security in and around catholic churches were intensified ahead of the celebrations with armed soldiers on guard and police using explosive detectors to frisk church goers at the entrance.
In Myanmar opponents of military rule inscribed messages of protest on Easter eggs while others were back on the streets, facing off with the security forces after a night of candle-lit vigils for hundreds killed since a Feb. 1 coup.
Worshippers in Manila marked the day outside closed churches as religious gatherings were temporarily banned to help slow a spike in coronavirus cases.
Wearing face shields and masks, worshippers prayed and lit candles outside the St. Peter’s Parish in Quezon City.
Inside the church, officials filled seats with hundreds of lit candles to represent the Catholics who are unable to go to attend due to the pandemic.
Germany’s Sorbs, one of Europe’s oldest and smallest minorities, celebrated Easter in the traditional manner, with singing at dawn and traditionally dressed horse-back processions through the villages of Lusatia, (Lausitz), the watery flatlands in the south eastern corner of Germany which are home to the Slav community.
Sorbs marry in black, have traditional songs and customs and are famous for their intricately painted Easter eggs and colourful processions.
After being cancelled last year due to coronavirus regulations, the marches were able to take place this year with limited numbers of spectators.
(Production: Martin Veal, Dina Selim)