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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis wishes a happy Easter to Benedict XVI and pilgrims at St. Peter's

A sea of umbrellas covered St. Peter's Square on Wednesday. Despite the rain, the pilgrims were not intimidated and responded as warmly as always to the pope. 

Pope Francis continued his catechesis series on the Mass. Before beginning, though, he chose to send a very special Easter greeting. 

“I would like for us to wish a happy Easter to he who was bishop of Rome, the beloved Pope Benedict, who is watching us on television. To Pope Benedict, we wish a happy Easter. Happy Easter! A round of applause.”

Pope Francis explained the meaning of the blessing given by the pastor as a farewell at the end of the celebration. First, though, he reminded that going to Mass should never be an obligation. The Eucharist is for bettering Christian life. Thus, the Holy Father advised against something. 

“If we leave the church gossiping, “Look at this one, look at that one,” with a loose tongue, the Mass has not entered into our heart. Why? Because I'm not capable of living with the Christian testimony. Every time I leave Mass, I must leave better than I entered.”

In addition, Pope Francis explained that the Mass doesn't end once one has left church, because the Eucharist is celebrated so that people become Eucharistic men and women. 

“It means letting Christ work in our actions. That His thoughts may be our thoughts, His feelings our feelings, His choices our choices. This is holiness, doing as Christ did is Christian holiness.”

The pope also recalled that the benefits of Mass should be reflected in daily life. He said a well-lived Eucharist makes the Christian testimony believable, it separates from sin and makes one view another as a brother or sister. 

“Participating in the Eucharist commits us to the rest, especially the poor, teaching us to go from Christ's body to that of the brothers and sisters in whom He hopes we recognize Him, we serve Him, we honor Him and we love Him.”

Before leaving, the Holy Father spoke of the flowers that decorate the square and expressed his desire for Easter to cultivate good works of faith in every Christian.