Pope Starts Easter With a Vigil

At midnight in the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI led cardinals and prelates in a candlelit vigil mass to celebrate Easter. In St. Peter's Basilica, the clergymen chanted "lumen christi" (light of Christ) in candlelight before throwing on the lights. Dressed in gold and white vestments, Benedict led the traditional mass. On the heels of an Abruzzo earthquake that killed at least 205, the pope emphasized the power of love and life, picking up on a motif of overcoming difficult trials that he spoke of on Good Friday and at a mass funeral for the earthquake's dead. During the vigil mass, the Pope baptized five adult converts: two Italian men and women from Italy, China, and the United States. The Pope will celebrate a second mass in St. Peter's Square on Sunday morning, followed by the delivery of his Easter message to the world shortly thereafter.