Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter

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Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter
Pope Francis kisses the altar as he arrives to celebrate Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square at the the Vatican, Sunday, April 20, 2014. This year, the Roman Catholic church's celebration of Easter coincides with that of the Orthodox church. Some of the hymns at the Vatican Mass were in Russian. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Flowers from the Netherlands decorate St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis arrives to celebrate an Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square at the the Vatican, Sunday, April 20, 2014. Francis is celebrating Christianity's most joyous day, Easter Sunday, under sunny skies in St. Peter's. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis, center, arrives to celebrate an Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sunday, April 20, 2014. Francis is celebrating Christianity's most joyous day, Easter Sunday, under sunny skies and before a flock of faithful who brimmed over from a flower-bedecked St. Peter's Square. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A nun holds a rosary as she prays prior to the arrival of Pope Francis to celebrate an Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, April 20, 2014. Even before Mass began, a crowd of more than 100,000 was overflowing from the cobblestoned square. Many more Romans, tourists and pilgrims were still streaming in for the pontiff's tradition Easter greeting at noon. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis, right, arrives for the Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square at the the Vatican, Sunday, April 20, 2014. Francis is celebrating Christianity's most joyous day, Easter Sunday, under sunny skies in St. Peter's. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Flowers from the Netherlands decorate St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis arrives to celebrate an Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square at the the Vatican, Sunday, April 20, 2014. Francis is celebrating Christianity's most joyous day, Easter Sunday, under sunny skies in St. Peter's. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis' skull cap is blown off his head by a gust of wind as he arrives for the Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square at the the Vatican, Sunday, April 20, 2014. Francis is celebrating Christianity's most joyous day, Easter Sunday, under sunny skies in St. Peter's. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis arrives to celebrate an Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sunday, April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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VATICAN CITY (AP) - Celebrating Easter Sunday, Christianity's most joyous day, Pope Francis stood under sunny skies before a flock so numerous they overflowed the flower-bedecked St. Peter's Square.

Even before Mass began in late morning, more than 100,000 tourist, Romans and pilgrims, young and old, had turned out for the Mass. Many more streamed in throughout the ceremony.

The broad boulevard leading from the square to the Tiber river filled up with the faithful and the curious, trying to catch a glimpse of the pontiff at the altar under a canopy erected on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica.

A rainstorm had lashed Rome on Saturday night, with thunder competing with the sound of hymns when Francis led a vigil service in St. Peter's Basilica. Dawn brought clear skies and warm temperatures for Easter, the culmination of Holy Week, the day which marks the Christian belief that Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion.

This year the Roman Catholic church's celebration of Easter coincided with that of the Orthodox church and some of the hymns at the Vatican Mass were in Russian.

Francis didn't give a homily, since traditionally pontiffs' main remarks on Easter come during the noon-time "Urbi et Orbi" (Latin for 'to the city and the world') address.

Reflecting the worldwide reach of the Catholic church, faithful read aloud prayers and passages from the Bible in Hindu, French, Chinese, German, Korean, Spanish, Italian and English.

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Follow Frances D'Emilio on Twitter at www.twitter.com/fdemilio

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