Pope Francis uses Easter blessing to call for peace
April 1 , 2013
Pope Francis used his first Easter Sunday message to call for peace in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
He began his Urbi et Orbi (To the city and the world) address with a simple "Happy Easter!"
The 76-year-old went on to say: "Christ has risen! What a joy it is for me to announce this message... I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons."
Francis later singled out the troubled regions of the world, stating: "Peace for the Middle East, and particularly between Israelis and Palestinians, who struggle to find the road of agreement, that they may willingly and courageously resume negotiations to end a conflict that has lasted all too long. Peace in Iraq, that every act of violence may end, and above all for dear Syria, for its people torn by conflict and for the many refugees who await help and comfort."
The Pope also referred to Mali, Nigeria, "where attacks sadly continue" and added: "Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow."
Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar.
More than 250,000 people from more than 100 countries gathered in St. Peter’s Square to hear Francis speak.
Pope Francis, formerly the Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was elected on March 13.
He is the first non-European pope for almost 1,300 years.
Francis replaced Benedict XVI, who held the office for eight years and became the first pontiff in more than 700 years to resign, citing he no longer had the physical strength to continue.
Know about the birth place of Pope Francis and the cardinals in the world, visit Catholic Cardinals Map