Pope leads Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square

April 16, 2006 12:18

Pope Benedict XVI, celebrating his first Easter as pontiff as well as his 79th birthday, led tens of thousands of faithful in Mass in St. Peter's Square Sunday under sunny skies. A brisk breeze ruffled his gold-colored vestments and the crimson feathers atop the helmets of Swiss Guards as the pontiff strode up the center to the square to take his place at a canopied altar on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica. "Peace be with you," Benedict chanted, opening the service, and a chorus of "hallelujah" went up from a choir as well as pilgrims and tourists in the crowd. Benedict looked tired after having only a few hours' sleep following his celebration in the basilica of a long Saturday night candlelit Easter vigil service which lasted until early Sunday.

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