Pope celebrates joy of Easter amid sorrow of virus, alone

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Catholics around the world are marking a solitary Easter, forced to celebrate the most joyful day in the Christian calendar largely alone amid the sorrowful reminders of the devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.  Normally, St. Peter’s Square would be awash in fresh flowers on Easter Sunday. There would be tulips and orchids in a riot of color to underscore Easter’s message of life and rebirth following Christ’s crucifixion.  This year, the cobblestoned piazza is bare with police barricades blocking those who would normally flock to hear the pope’s blessing. Pope Francis was to instead celebrate Easter Mass inside the largely empty basilica and deliver his speech from in front of the tomb of St. Peter.