Paying homage to the victims of terror attacks in Europe (Belgium, Turkey), Africa (Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast) and around the world (Iraq, Syria) as well as noting the tragedy of the ensuing (and growing) global refugee crisis, Pope Francis delivered a passionate yet somber traditional noon Easter Sunday message earlier today [Sunday, March 27]. The message is called the Urbi et Orbi blessing in Latin.

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From the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in St. Peter’s Square (and even walking among the people, despite consistent threats from Islamic extremists via social media listing the Vatican as a potential target) the Pope Francis kept close physical contact with the people as he explained to the faithful that Jesus, who rose after death by crucifixion, “triumphed over evil and sin.” He expressed hope that “will draw us closer to the victims of terrorism, that blind and brutal form of violence.”

In his balcony speech, the Pope was especially mindful and vocal about the refugee crisis, saying Easter “invites us not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees — including many children — fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice,” he said. “All too often, these brothers and sisters of ours meet along the way with death or, in any event, rejection by those who could offer them welcome and assistance.”


Photo Credit: AP