Millions of Christians around the world celebrated a second Easter on Sunday under coronavirus restrictions, as nations tried to control worrying outbreaks of COVID-19.
Despite accelerating vaccine rollouts in many countries, dramatic spikes in cases have forced restrictions to be reimposed.
Pope Francis celebrated Easter morning mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican under strict lockdown over the weekend.
Before his mass, he delivered a message of hope and renewal.
“It is always possible to start over because there is a new life that God can awaken in us despite all our failures,” Francis said during the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday.
“From the rubble of our hearts, God can create a work of art; from the ruined remains of our humanity, God can prepare a new history.
Stricter restrictions have come into force in Belgium as well as in France, where authorities are scrambling to cope with a severe spike in cases that has overwhelmed Paris hospitals.
Across the Atlantic, Canada crossed the one million coronavirus case threshold as it battled a new wave of infections, forcing several provinces to tighten restrictions before Easter weekend.
And celebrations have also been slowed in South America, where Brazil is in the throes of a devastating epidemic likely fueled by a more contagious variant.