Pope Francis began on Sunday to celebrate the traditional Easter Mass on the forecourt of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in front of thousands of faithful, surrounded by impressive security measures.
The solemn Mass of the Resurrection, the most important time of the Catholic liturgy, began at 10:00. The Pope will give two hours later his blessing urbi et orbi (to the City of Rome and the world) from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica.
Saturday night, the Argentine pope had presided at the Easter vigil at St. Peter’s Basilica, asking the faithful to break the silence “on the injustices that live in their flesh so many of our brothers”. He also baptized eight people, including a 31-year-old Nigerian who hit the headlines in September, when he was in control in Rome of an armed criminal who had robbed a supermarket.
The faithful, curious tourists and even celebrant priests had to wait in long lines on Sunday morning to reach St. Peter’s Square, passing from first safety filters to a hundred meters with metal detectors and bag checks. , while a large perimeter was closed Sunday morning to traffic.
Access to the square itself is done after passing under a gantry detection, like airports.
The Italian authorities consider that Easter is a period of high risk for the Italian capital.
“Rome is the center of the Catholic religion, there is the Pope, the Vatican. For those who believe in the radical mode of the holy war, Rome represents so many things put together, “summed up on Saturday the anti-terrorism prosecutor Federico Capiero de Raho, very worried about a discreet return to the country of radicalized Italians fighting in Syria and in Iraq.
A concern shared by the Minister of the Interior of the outgoing government Marco Minniti, who estimated Sunday for the first time in an interview that some of the 120 Italian fighters identified could return individually by mixing with the flow of migrants.
St. Peter’s Square was decorated on this Easter Sunday with 50,000 flowers, with a predominance of tulips and daffodils, but also roses and orchids, offered by the Netherlands, a tradition that exists for the 32nd year consecutive.
Last year, the flowers were the victims of the appetite of the Roman seagulls, but gardeners have resorted this year to a dissuasive technique of lasers before the beginning of the mass.