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After skipping Good Friday, Pope presides over Easter Vigil

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Rome, March 30: Pope Francis presided over the Vatican’s somber Easter Vigil service on Saturday night, delivering a 10-minute homily and baptising eight people, a day after suddenly skipping the Good Friday procession at the Colosseum as a health precaution.
Francis entered the darkened, silent St. Peter’s Basilica in his wheelchair, took his place in a chair and offered an opening prayer. Sounding somewhat congested and out of breath, he blessed an elaborately decorated Easter candle, the flame of which was then shared with other candles until the whole basilica twinkled.
Over an hour later, Francis delivered a 10-minute homily in a strong voice, clearing his throat occasionally.
The evening service, one of the most solemn and important moments in the Catholic liturgical calendar, commemorates the resurrection of Jesus.
The Vatican had said Francis skipped the Good Friday procession to ensure his participation in both the vigil service Saturday night, which usually lasts about two hours, and Easter Sunday Mass a few hours later. (AP)

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