- Title: VATICAN CITY: Pilgrims flock to Vatican at Easter
- Date: 9th April 2012
- Summary: YOUNG CHILD RUNNING
- Embargoed: 24th April 2012 13:00
- Location: Vatican City State
- Country: Vatican City State
- Topics: Religion
- Reuters ID: LVAC0RONU0781KJDFW7K4SHWUL8K
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Pilgrims reflect on times of recession as they make their way to the St. Peter's Square for Easter Mass and to hear the Pope's Urbi et Orbi message.
Thousands of Roman Catholics thronged the Vatican on Sunday (April 8) to mark Easter Sunday and to hear the Pope's message to the world.
Pope Benedict will preside over the Easter Sunday mass in St. Peter's Square, before delivering the "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing and message.
In Italy, hard-hit by a deep economic crisis, many locals have had little reason to celebrate this Easter and are hoping the spiritual weekend will also mark a turning point in materialistic as well as in spiritual terms.
"How do I see it? With hope. Easter is all about hope and resurrection and so we are asking for a spiritual resurrection and unfortunately, we now also have to ask for a material resurrection," said Angela Rizzi from Italy's financial capital Milan.
The economic crisis has led to increasing poverty and hardship in Europe and in Greece and Italy during recent weeks there has been a wave of suicides linked to financial woes such as unemployment and companies going bankrupt.
"I've recently been to other countries where the situation seemed a little bit more civilised than here in Italy. Italy seems slightly worse off and the fact is that we really need to get deep into the foundations of the problems. Things will certainly change here but I don't see the change coming very soon," said pensioner Pino Gallus.
American visitor Paula Brasfield said she was saddened to see so few young families in Italy.
"God will help us, maybe get through it, I'm upset I don't see more pregnant young girls in Italy, it seems there is no young families that I've seen here. In America we see many young families, they are having children and here I don't see very many and I talked to a girl and she said we are afraid to have babies, we are afraid to have families because it's so expensive for us," she said.
Pope Benedict on Friday (April 6) called for perseverance in the face of the economic crisis as he presided over a procession around Rome's Colosseum to mark Jesus Christ's crucifixion and death on Good Friday.
The pontiff, who turns 85 this month, has looked tired during services over the Easter period after returning last week from a gruelling trip to Mexico and Cuba.
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