Thousands of pilgrims gathered at the Vatican's Saint Peter's Square for Pope Benedict's open-air Easter Mass. In his Easter message, the Pope urged solutions to world trouble spots including Sudan's troubled Darfur region and Somalia in Africa, the tormented Middle East, and Tibet. Sabina Castelfranco reports from Rome.
Addressing the throng of pilgrims from the steps of the basilica overlooking Saint Peter's Square, Pope Benedict explained the importance of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Pope Benedict said the death and resurrection of Jesus is an event of invincible love. It changed the course of history giving to human life an indestructible and renewed meaning and value. He added that Jesus died and rose for all, saying he is our hope.
The Pope was addressing the faithful in his "Urbi et Orbi" message for Easter, the holiest day in the Church's liturgical calendar.
In his message, the Pope focused his attention on some of the world's trouble spots. He urged solutions in areas bloodied by conflict and where human dignity continues to be scorned and trampled.
Among them, Pope Benedict mentioned Darfur and Somalia in Africa, Iraq and Lebanon in the Middle East, and Tibet in Asia.
The Pope said that often, relations between individuals, groups and peoples are marked not by love but by selfishness, injustice, hatred and violence.
Under gray skies and pouring rain, tens of thousands of people had gathered from early in the morning in Saint Peter's Square to take part in the Pope's Easter Sunday Mass. A sea of flowers from Holland adorned the steps of the basilica for a joyous celebration.
Millions all over the world watched the service, broadcast live on television to 57 countries. After giving his Easter blessing, the Pope greeted pilgrims in more than 60 different languages.
On Holy Saturday during an Easter Vigil Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica, the Pope baptized Italy's most prominent and controversial Muslim journalist and commentator. Fifty-five-year-old Magdi Allam was born in Egypt and is deputy editor of the leading newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Allam, a fierce critic of Islamic extremism and a strong supporter of Israel, is protected by a police escort because of threats he has received. His conversion to Christianity was a well-kept secret.
Pope Benedict baptized a total of seven adults during the service. The pope traditionally baptizes adult converts to Catholicism on Easter eve.