Easter offers year-round 'joy', pope tells faithful

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - The joy of Easter should be experienced all year round, Pope Francis said on Monday, addressing thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square the day after the holiest day in the Christian calendar.

The new pope, urging the faithful to "express in life the sacrament we received" on Easter Sunday in their behaviour and choices, said: "It is our daily commitment but also our daily joy."

The crowd braved unseasonably cool temperatures to hear the first Latin American leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, speaking from a window in the Apostolic Palace overlooking the square.

Easter, which commemorates the Resurrection of Christ, has "an enormous potential of renewal, for personal existence, for the life of families, for social relations", he said, before reciting the traditional Regina Coeli prayer for Easter Monday.

Also on Monday, the Argentine pope prayed near the spot that is thought to be the tomb of St Peter - considered the Catholic Church's first pope - in the crypt of St Peter's Basilica.

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