VATICAN CITY (AP) — At an Easter vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis on Saturday encouraged
people to resist cynicism or pursuing the "glitter of wealth," and to avoid seeking life’s
meaning in "things that pass away."
"Do not bury hope!" Francis exclaimed, after noting that when things go badly, "we lose
heart and come to believe that death is stronger than life."
"We become cynical, negative and despondent," Francis added.
For Christians, Easter is a day of joy and hope, as they mark their belief that Jesus triumphed over
death by resurrection following crucifixion.
"Sin seduces; it promises things easy and quick, prosperity and success, but leaves behind only
solitude and death," the pope said. "Sin is looking for life among the dead, for the meaning
of life in things that pass away."
Encouraging the faithful, Francis said: "Why not prefer Jesus, the true light, to the glitter of
wealth, career, pride and pleasure?"
At the start of the ceremony on Easter’s eve, Francis, dressed in white robes, slowly carried a lit
candle up the aisle of a darkened St. Peter’s Basilica. At the chant in Latin for "light of Christ,
the basilica’s lights were suddenly switched on in a dramatic tradition.
Arrayed before the steps of the altar was a row of cardinals, wearing ivory robes. Behind them in the
pews sat diplomats with their spouses and thousands of rank-and-file Catholics, tourists and pilgrims
Among those in the basilica were eight adults who were baptized by the pope during the Mass. The Vatican
said these new faithful are from Italy, Albania, Ecuador, Indonesia and Peru. From a shell-shaped silver
dish, Francis poured holy water over the bowed heads of the three men and five women, after they walked
up to him, one by one, and listened to him calling their first names.
On Sunday, Francis celebrates Easter Mass in late morning in St. Peter’s Square and gives a speech from
the basilica balcony. Known by its Latin name "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and to the world),
the speech is an occasion to reflect on the world’s war-ravaged and other tense spots while paying
tribute to Catholics’ practicing their faith sometimes in the face of persecution or other difficulties.
Frances D’Emilio is on twitter at www. Twitter.com/fdemilio