Given the exceptional times we are living in, Pope Francis will preside over a virtually empty Basilica for this year’s Easter Sunday Mass, which will be live-streamed on the Vatican website beginning at 11am. He will be accompanied by men and women religious, seated one per bench.

The Pope offered consolation for the challenges of the pandemic during Palm Sunday’s homily: “Today, in the tragedy of a pandemic, in the face of the many false securities that have now crumbled, in the face of so many hopes betrayed, in the sense of abandonment that weighs upon our hearts, Jesus says to each one of us: Courage, open your heart to my love. You will feel the consolation of God who sustains you”

It is also helpful for us to recall that, in his message for Lent 2020, Pope Francis cited this verse from Saint Paul :

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor 5:20)

He also invited Christians to consider the Paschal Mystery as the “cornerstone of Christian personal and community life”.

Happy Easter!