Pope hopes for end to dark times at Easter vigil

This year has been the second consecutive Easter that all papal services are being attended by only about 200 people in a secondary altar of St. Peter's Basilica instead of the nearly 10,000 that the largest church in Christendom can hold.

The service began two hours earlier than usual so that participants could get home before a 10 p.m. curfew in Rome, which, like the rest of Italy, is under tough lockdown restrictions during the Easter weekend.

At the start of the service, the basilica was in darkness except for the flames from candles held by participants to signify the darkness in the world before Jesus. As the pope, cardinals and bishops processed to the altar and a cantor chanted three times, the basilica's lights were turned on.