Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY -- Celebrating Mass on Easter Monday, Pope Francis prayed that the political and economic planning for recovery after the coronavirus pandemic would be inspired by concern for the common good and not for "the god money."

VATICAN CITY -- In an Easter celebration like no other, Pope Francis prayed that Christ, "who has already defeated death and opened for us the way to eternal salvation," would "dispel the darkness of our suffering humanity and lead us into the light of his glorious day, a day that knows no end."

VATICAN CITY -- In a dark and nearly empty St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis blessed a fire, lit the Easter candle and called Christians to keep kindling sparks of hope, knowing that Jesus has risen and death will not have the last word.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has established a new "Study Commission on the Female Diaconate" as a follow-up to a previous group that studied the history of women deacons in the New Testament and the early Christian communities.

VATICAN CITY -- The COVID-19 quarantines, lockdowns and stay-at-home orders are the perfect opportunity for conversion: for individuals, for the church and for governments, Pope Francis said in an interview.

VATICAN CITY -- Cardinal Mario Zenari, the nuncio to Syria, said he is raising special prayers these days to Sts. Cosmas and Damian, fourth-century physicians who offered free care for the sick in Syria.

VATICAN CITY -- The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments has approved a special "Mass in the Time of Pandemic" to plead for God's mercy and gift of strength in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

ROME -- While many churches in Italy remain open, visiting a church to pray is not a valid excuse for leaving one's home during Italy's COVID-19 lockdown, said a note from the Ministry for Internal Affairs.

VATICAN CITY -- The worldwide coronavirus pandemic is not God's judgment on humanity, but God's call on people to judge what is most important to them and resolve to act accordingly from now on, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY -- Neither Pope Francis nor any of his closest collaborators have the COVID-19 virus, said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office.