Pope over­comes health con­cerns to pre­side over a blus­tery East­er Sun­day Mass in St. Peter’s Square

Pope Fran­cis ral­lied from a win­ter-long bout of res­pi­ra­to­ry prob­lems to lead some 60,000 peo­ple in East­er cel­e­bra­tions Sun­day, mak­ing a strong appeal for a cease­fire in Gaza and a pris­on­er swap between Rus­sia and Ukraine.
Fran­cis presided over East­er Sun­day Mass in a flower-decked St. Peter’s Square and then deliv­ered a heart­felt prayer for peace in his annu­al roundup of glob­al crises.
“Peace is nev­er made with weapons, but with out­stretched hands and open hearts,” Fran­cis said from the log­gia over­look­ing the square to applause from the wind-swept crowd below.
Fran­cis appeared in good form, despite hav­ing cel­e­brat­ed the 2½-hour night­time East­er Vig­il just hours before. The pon­tiff, who had part of one lung removed as a young man, has been bat­tling res­pi­ra­to­ry prob­lems all win­ter, and his full par­tic­i­pa­tion in East­er ser­vices was not entire­ly guar­an­teed, espe­cial­ly after he skipped the trad …