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Watch as Pope Francis leads Easter Mass at the Vatican

Watch as Pope Francis leads Easter Mass at the Vatican on Sunday 31 March.

The pontiff yesterday soldiered through a more than two-hour Easter Vigil Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, one of the longest services in Catholic liturgy, amid renewed concerns about the 87-year-old’s frail condition.

His voice at times sounded raspy and out of breath, but he read out all of his prepared texts, including a more than one-page long homily, and he smiled and waved at the congregation as he left in a wheelchair.

In other occasions, Francis has delegated longer readings to aides.

On Friday, the pope skipped at the last minute the night-time Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession at Rome’s Colosseum in what the Vatican said was a bid to “preserve his health” ahead of other Holy Week events.

Francis is set to conclude Easter celebrations today with Mass in St Peter’s Square and his twice-annual “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing and message from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica.