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Pope Francis celebrates Easter mass

March 31, 2013 at 8:18 AM

VATICAN CITY, March 31 (UPI) -- Pope Francis delivered the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing to a packed crowd at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Easter Sunday.

"What a joy it is for me to announce this message: Christ is risen," Francis said at noon from the papal balcony.

"I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons," the spiritual leader of the world's Roman Catholics said. "Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this good news: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin, of evil. Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious."

Francis' speech focused on a need for peace.

"Peace in the whole world, still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by the selfishness which threatens human life and the family, selfishness that continues in human trafficking, the most extensive form of slavery in this 21st century," he said. "Peace to the whole world, torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the iniquitous exploitation of natural resources."

Before the Urbi et Orbi, Francis took a ride around St. Peter's Square in the Popemobile, waving and smiling at the crowd, CNN reported.

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