National Catholic Register

Vatican

‘Urbi et Orbi’ Message Reflects The Tragedy of Easter 1999

BY Jim Cosgrove

April 11-17, 1999 Issue | Posted 4/11/99 at 2:00 AM

 

VATICAN CITY—The Pope, along with many Christians, faced a terrible interior struggle this Easter: How can there be celebration and joy when, as the Pope declared, “ the heavens are rent by the din of war, when the whistle of shells is heard around people's homes and the ravaging fire of bombs consumes towns and villages?”

Fifty thousand people crowded into St. Peter's Square to hear the Pope's Easter message, “Urbi et Orbi” (To the City of Rome and to the World).

Though he also addressed grave situations in many other parts of the world, the dramatic situation in Kosovo was his central concern. As he reminded the world of “those who have been killed, of those made homeless, of those who have been torn from their families, of those who are being forced to flee,” he shouted, “Let the solidarity of everyone be mobilized, so that finally brotherhood and peace may begin to speak once more!”

To alleviate the tragedy of Kosovo, the Pope appealed to Slobodan Milosevic and the authorities of Yugoslavia “to allow a humanitarian corridor to be opened, in order for help to be brought to the mass of people gathered at the border of Kosovo.

There can be no frontiers to impede the work of solidarity,” he said.

The traditional “Urbi et Orbi” message concluded with an appeal for confidence in the face of these dramatic situations. “Christ, the conqueror of sin and death, urges us not to surrender,” he said.

For the fourteenth time, a team of Dutch landscapers transformed St. Peter's square into a veritable garden, with pink and red rhododendrons, yellow, orange and violet azaleas, and a sea of tulips, narcissus and hyacinth of various colors. The Holy Father made special mention of their work in his greetings to the world, which he gave in 61 languages. (ZENIT, Register Staff)