Pope prays for peace at Easter Mass

April 08, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

ROME -- Celebrating Easter Mass before a crowd of about 100,000 outside St. Peter's Basilica, Pope John Paul II prayed yesterday for peace in the world's war zones and for comfort for the victims of violence.

As he gave his Easter blessing in 57 languages, the 75-year-old pope seemed tired but in strong voice after his recovery from an illness that forced him to cancel or postpone a week of appearances last month.

Under bright sunshine, surrounded by banks of flowers, the pope celebrated the most important day on the Christian calendar, emphasizing its message that life triumphs over death.

"The Lord is risen and grants to those who share in his triumph over death the courage and the strength to continue to build up a new humanity by refusing every kind of violence, sectarianism and injustice," he said.

Last Christmas, the pope had to interrupt another televised message, as he was stricken with nausea.

The pope's latest illness, which began with a high fever, prompted another round of speculation about his health. Described as a gastrointestinal fever, it was enough to force him to heed his doctors' advice and to take a rest from his schedule.

Pub Date: 4/08/96

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