.- In an emotional Easter message, read at the beginning of the Easter Vigil celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope John Paul II sent his warm Easter greetings to all Christians, and exhorted them to bear witness to the world of the love of the risen Christ.
The Pope’s entire message says:
Dear brothers and sisters!
At the conclusion of the penitential journey of Lent and after having mediated in the past days on the painful passion and dramatic death of Jesus on the cross, we celebrate on this singular night the glorious mystery of his resurrection.
Thanks to television, I can follow from my apartment the evocative Easter Vigil which is presided over by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at St. Peter’s Basilica. I send him my fraternal greetings, and I extend them to the other cardinals, archbishops and bishops who are present. With affection I also greet the priests, religious and faithful gathered around the altar of the Lord, and I am especially mindful of the catechumens who, during this holy Vigil, prepare themselves to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.
This is truly an extraordinary night in which the shining light of the risen Christ definitively overcomes the power of the darkness of evil and death and ignites hope and joy in the hearts of believers.
Beloved, guided by the liturgy, let us ask the Lord Jesus that the world may see and recognize that, thanks to his passion, and resurrection, that which was destroyed is rebuilt, that which was old is renewed and everything returns to its original integrity, more beautiful than before.
I cordially send fervent greetings to all, with assurances I will remember you in prayer so that the risen Lord will bring to each one of you and to your families and communities the Easter gift of his peace. To my sentiments I join my special Apostolic Blessing.
Vatican, March 26, 2005, Easter VigilJOANNES PAULUS II