VATICAN CITY - - Pope Francis has celebrated a trimmed back Easter Vigil service after having reached out to Muslims and women during a Holy Week in which he has begun to put his mark on the Catholic Church.
Francis processed into a darkened and silent St. Peter's Basilica at the start of the Saturday service, which recalls the period between Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter Sunday. One of the most dramatic moments of the Easter Vigil service - when the pope shared the light of his candle with others until the entire basilica twinkled - was shortened this year as were some of the Old Testament readings.
In his homily, Francis kept his message simple and tied to the liturgical readings, recalling how Jesus' disciples found his tomb empty a day after his death and were surprised and confused.
He said "Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness, and that is where death is," adding "Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life!"
He later baptized four men, part of the Easter Vigil ritual.