His homily for the Mass contained many of the same themes, focusing on the need for Christians to joyfully embrace the Cross and to live lives of generosity.
Pope Francis then proceeded to spend almost 30 minutes in the square, taking his time as he went up and down each aisle, sometimes stopping the popemobile and walking over to the crowd barriers to shake hands, hug people and kiss children.
The faithful warmly received his signs of closeness and his familiarity, which at one point included him giving thumbs-up to a man he passed in the popemobile.
At the end of his exuberant trip through the crowd, a blind young man was brought to him. He hugged Pope Francis and spoke with him for a few moments.
Some members of the Pope’s security detail then lifted up a few people in wheelchairs so they could receive blessings from the Holy Father.