Ever wondered how the head of the Roman Catholic Church spends one of the most exciting days of the Lenten season? Across the globe, Catholics celebrate Easter Sunday in a variety of ways. In Spain, the faithful walk celebrate with a procession during Semana Santa (the Spanish translation for Holy Week), while the French celebrate this exciting holiday by cooking up a huge omelette and hiding Easter eggs for kids to find.
Further into the East, Poles and Czech Catholics celebrate the resurrection of Christ by drenching family, friends, and sometimes, complete strangers in water. In Bermuda and other tropical countries, families head to the beach in droves, as a symbolic form of spiritual cleansing and renewal-- as well as to enjoy the waves before the warmest temperatures of summer set in.
But the Pope celebrates Easter in a very different, often solemn way. Not only does he lead the morning Easter mass on this day, the Vatican Press' report of his schedule paints a very traditional church celebration with even less fanfare: no eggs, no omelettes, and no sandy beaches.
Easter, for the Pope, starts a day prior, with an Easter vigil mass held at St. Peter's Basilica. (For Easter Sunday 2019, the vigil falls on April 20th.)
This day ends solemnly, as it always does. It technically still falls on Black Saturday, after all.
Less than 12 hours, the Pope prepares for a new mass altogether. Easter Sunday is officially celebrated by the Vatican with the Easter morning mass, which is usually held at 10:00 AM on Easter Sunday. If you turn your TV to a Catholic channel or if you follow the Vatican's streams on Youtube you can join the mass along with millions of faithful Catholics. The Easter Sunday mass will be held at the St. Peter’s Basilica.
Millions of Catholics from all over the world strive to attend the Easter Sunday mass every year. Others consider this part of their Holy Week pilgrimage route.
However, Easter Sunday 2019 does not end there.
After the mass, the Pope heads to the central balcony of the Basilica to deliver his blessing to Catholics far and wide. This address is known as “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) and is considered one of the most important messages from the Pope.
While the Vatican Press has not yet released his message, it will likely be in the same thought as the Holy Father's message for Lent 2019, which was delivered in February of this year.
The Pope's address is also one of the most awaited appearances most reporters and photographers hope to catch. If you've seen pictures of the Pope on the balcony of the St. Peter's Basilica, chances are, they were taken during an "Urbi et Orbi" address, or at an open-air mass held by the Pope.
Many Catholics take this opportunity to lift their religious items into the air to be blessed by the pope.
The Brass Saint Benedict Cross, blessed in St. Peter's Square
If you can't make it to the Vatican on this day, strive to catch the address in real time by watching the Vatican's stream online.
With the Easter Sunday message finally delivered, what happens next? Well, not much is known about the Pope's schedule after Easter Sunday and Monday, but the Vatican often considers both days state holidays. That means if you are in the vicinity, expect the Vatican museum to be closed.
Christ is risen: The world below lies desolate.
Christ is risen: The spirits of evil are fallen.
Christ is risen: The angels of God are rejoicing.
Christ is risen: The tombs of the dead are empty.
Christ is risen indeed from the dead, the first of the sleepers!
Glory and Power are His for ever and ever!
Have a Blessed Easter Sunday!
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