ALONG, plain wooden cross was carried by Pope Paul up the Palatine Hill in Rome in the traditional Via Crucis ceremony on Good Friday evening. He spoke of the comfort the Cross offers to the poor, needy, sick and oppressed.
The procession began inside the Colosseum, where Christian martyrs were once killed.
Next day, he led a moving Easter Vigil service in St. Peter's Basilica, combined with a Mass celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. The service is brought forward in St. Peter's Basilica to allow the Pope to rest before his busy Easter Sunday schedule.
On Easter Sunday the Pope celebrated Mass at S ELM. at a suburban church, then officiated at the main service in St. Peter's Basilica at 11 a.m. Immediately after this second Mass he gave his Easter blessing to the City of Rome and the world, Urbi et Orbi.
More than 100,000 pilgrims in St. Peter's Square and, through television and radio, millions throughout the world, heard the Pope's warm Easter greetings as he spoke to them from his balcony overlooking the square.
"I want our greeting of peace to reach Wherever there is Still the conflict of war, hatred, blooddhed, destruction and ever more nuMerous and murderous weapons," he said.
There was also a special greeting for persecuted and silenced Catholics throughout the world. "Let these individuals know," he said, "let these restricted and oppressed Churches know — if ever the echo of our words this Easter reaches them—that they are not forgotten."
The Pope's message and Easter greetings in 17 languages, including Chinese, Vietnamese and Ukrainian, came after he bad celebrated Mass in brilliant sunshine on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica.