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Pope Expresses Hope

His frail and sometimes wobbly body contrasting with the strength Christians draw from Easter Sunday, Pope John Paul II expressed faith in humanity's ability to rout evil from the world and bring peace to the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa and other places plagued by violence.

"Men and women of the third millennium, the Easter gift of light that scatters the darkness of fear and sadness is meant for everyone," John Paul said near the end of a two-hour ceremony in St. Peter's Square, where close to 100,000 people braved unusually chilly weather for Roman spring.

"Rediscover with joy and wonder that the world is no longer a slave to the inevitable. The world of ours can change: peace is possible even where for too long there has been fighting and death," the pontiff said, going on to name the Holy Land, Jerusalem, the Balkans, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

CBS News Reporter Stefan Bos in Budapest reports that Easter Sunday in Hungary officially commemorated the 600,000 Hungarian Jews and thousands of Hungarian Gypsies killed in the Holocaust. Holocaust Day there falls on Easter Monday, and the government hopes the dual-commemoration will help end the anti-Semitism that has plagued Hungary for centuries.


Reuters
Pope John Paul celebrates Easter mass.

Age and physical ailments have taken their toll on the pope, who turns 81 next month, and as he made his way to the altar on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica, John Paul at one point swayed and appeared to lose his balance. Two aides quickly grabbed his arms and steadied him and he made it down the next few steps.

Sunday's late-morning Mass was the last in a series of taxing Holy Week appearances which included a long, late night Saturday vigil service which rain forced to be held in the basilica instead of the square.

On Good Friday, for the first time, John Paul walked and carried a cross for only a very small part of the Good Friday ceremony at the Colosseum. Time between public ceremonies was also been lengthened in some cases to give the pontiff more hours for rest.

An arm tremor, shuffling walk and slurred words, symptoms of Parkinson's disease, have troubled the pontiff for several years now, but on Sunday his voice sounded strong during his traditional Easter reflection on the world's troublespots, and he prayed that "this commitment of ours will not falter, even when weariness slows our steps."

He followed the "Urbi et Orbi" (Latin for "to the city and to the world") Easter message by wishing the world happy Easter in 61 languages.

By the end of the ceremonythe crowd had swelled to about 100,000 as tourists and Romans spilled over from the square.

Arrangements of colorful flowers and the applause of pilgrims hearing greetings in their native languages gave the square a festive air. The sun was strong, but the faithful had to keep moving about to keep warm. The temperature was 45 degrees Fahrenheit when the Mass began.

John Paul prayed that mankind be supported "in our dedication to building a more human world." He said strength was needed to "defeat the powers of evil and death, and to place all research and all technical and social progress at the service of a better future for all."

Among the languages John Paul used in delivering the greetings were Greek, Maltese and Arabic, tongues the pontiff will encounter next month during a pilgrimage to Greece, Malta and Syria.

That trip, as well as another pilgrimage planned for Ukraine in late June, will keep the pope's schedule heavy for the next several weeks. A special gathering of cardinals next month will also give the pope little time for rest.

For Easter, John Paul planned to spend Monday and Tuesday in Castel Gandolfo, the Vatican retreat in the hills southeast of Rome, but he was due back in Vatican City on Wednesday for his general audience, expected to be jammed with tourists.

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