Vatican City

Pope Francis beckons crowds to 'give up hate'

'Without the grace of God, we can do nothing,' says pontiff

Pope Francis beckons crowds to 'give up hate'

(By Kate Carlisle) Vatican City, April 1 - Pope Francis greeted the crowds on St Peter's Square Easter Monday or "Monday of the Angel" celebrating Mass and reciting the Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven) prayer. "Thank you all for coming today, and in such large numbers," the pope began. "May the power of the resurrection of Christ reach everyone - especially those who suffer - and all in need of confidence and hope". "Without (the) grace (of God) we can do nothing," he said in Italian. "The grace contained in the sacraments Easter is an enormous source of strength for renewal in personal and family life, as well as for social relations," Pope Francis said. Francis told the crowds that he prayed for "the Paschal mystery to work deeply in us and in our days, that hatred gives way to love, lies the truth, revenge to forgiveness and sadness to joy". The Regina Coeli is sung or recited in place of the Angelus during the Easter season, from Holy Saturday through Pentecost Sunday. During his address he called for followers to give up "hate" and to cooperate with the "grace of Christ" so that it can "become effective in our lives and in the world". "Christ has conquered evil so fully and definitively, but it is up to us, to men of all ages, to welcome this victory in our lives and in the realities of history and society," the pope said. "Yes, Baptism that makes us children of God, the Eucharist unites us to Christ, must become life, that is reflected in attitudes, behaviors, actions, choices," the Argentine pontiff said during his first Easter Monday mass as Pope Francis. Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Archpriest of St Peter's Basilica, accompanied Pope Francis on Monday during a private visit to the tomb of St Peter, Vatican sources said. The Argentine pontiff will visit the necropolis underneath the Basilica where he will spend time in prayer by the tomb of the first pope in history. Francis, who was elected as pope on March 13 after Benedict shocked the world in February by announcing he was stepping down, kicked off Holy Week with Palm Sunday Mass on March 24 in St Peter's Square. The former archbishop of Buenos Aires gave his first Easter Sunday Mass as pontiff before a crowd of tens of thousands of people from all over the world in St Peter's Square on Sunday. Following the reciting of the Regina Coeli on Monday, Pope Francis wished the crowds again "Happy Easter and have a good lunch!".

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