VATICAN CITY (CNN) — Pope Francis told followers to “not yield to fear” while leading an Easter Vigil the night before Easter Sunday inside an empty St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday.
Quoting Jesus upon the resurrection, Pope Francis said: “Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear. This is the message of hope. It is addressed to us today. These are the words that God repeats to us this very night.”
The vigil, typically attended by thousands, was scaled back amid coronavirus lockdown measures.
“We are all brothers and sisters — may we bring the song of life,” he added.
The Pope also used the address to urge against the arms trade. “Let us silence the cries of death, no more wars! May we stop the production and trade of weapons, since we need bread, not guns.”
The vigil was part of the Pope’s Easter Triduum liturgies, a series of ceremonies given during the days leading to Easter Sunday — beginning with Holy Thursday. The vigil is to be followed by Sunday’s event, when the Pope will host Easter Sunday Mass at 5 a.m. EST or 11 a.m. Rome time.