NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Thousands of people gathered at St. Peter’s Square early Sunday morning to hear Pope Benedict deliver his traditional Easter blessing in dozens of languages.
Meanwhile, back in the Tri-State, about 3,000 came out to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to celebrate Easter locally.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan told those in attendance that the evils of Good Friday were over and that God has the last word on Easter Sunday.
“It is the word of life and grace and mercy and light,” Dolan said.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney reports
Several people attending Mass told CBS 2’s Magee Hickey that Easter Sunday is their favorite day of the year because they’re celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Sunday morning was the Pope’s last major celebration before next week’s beatification of Pope John Paul II.
The Easter vigil is the most important liturgy on the church’s calendar when the faithful mark the passage from Christ’s death to his resurrection on Easter Sunday morning. It is rich with symbols and candlelight processions around the world.
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports on Easter’s meaning
At the beginning of this Easter weekend, Pope Benedict used a very modern method to reach the faithful, becoming the first pontiff ever to take part in a televised question and answer session.
The first question came from a 7-year-old Japanese girl who asked why her country suffered so much after last month’s devastating earthquake.
The pope said he had the same questions, adding “we do not have answers but we know Jesus suffered as you do.”
To observers, the broadcast was a chance for the Pope to show another side of himself.
“Pope Benedict is not an actor. He doesn’t really know how to work a crowd, but what he does know is where he is strong and he’s really strong in teaching—strong really in explaining things in a gentle way, a simple way,” Rev. Thomas Williams, a professor of theology, said.
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola describes the scene at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Here at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, there are eight masses and Dolan celebrated the 10:15 a.m. service, which required tickets for entrance.
For Christians, Easter means rebirth and also an infinite number of other things, but for Dolan, Easter Sunday represents a victory.
“We go through life wondering who’s gonna have the last word. Is Good Friday gonna have the last word? That means sin, darkness, death, hate, evil. Is that going to be the last word? Or is Easter Sunday gonna be the last word? That means light, life, newness, a fresh start. Well we’re jumping up and down for joy because we know that Easter has the last word,” he said.
The archbishop said the message of Easter is God has the last word.
Following Mass, many stepped out onto Fifth Avenue where the annual Easter parade was taking place. Streets were lined with flowerpots holding pink and red tulips and white lillies as women donned their Easter dresses.
How will you celebrate Easter Sunday? Tell us in our comments section.