Pope Francis leads first Easter celebrations
The pope will then deliver a special blessing for
The "Urbi et Orbi" message is expected to be read out in around 60 languages and could include appeals over various crises around the world.
At an Easter Vigil in St Peter's Basilica, the first pontiff from outside
"He will receive you with open arms," said the 76-year-old Argentine pope, formerly the archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has called for the Roman Catholic Church to be closer to ordinary people and the needy.
"Let us not close our hearts," he appealed to the congregation in a mass in which he also baptized four converts.
He added: "Let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change."
The Church is struggling with rising rates of secularization, particularly in
Easter Sunday celebrates the Christian belief in Jesus's death and resurrection.
It is preceded by a series of ceremonies during Holy Week, which evokes the last days of Christ's life.
On Holy Thursday, Francis celebrated an unprecedented mass in a youth prison in
Previous popes had only ever performed the ritual with priests or Catholic laymen.
On Good Friday, Francis presided over a torch-lit ceremony at the Colosseum in
The new pope has said he wants a "poor Church for poor people" and has adopted a less formal style than that of his predecessor Benedict XVI, already breaking with several Vatican traditions in his first few weeks in office.
Bergoglio, a moderate conservative on Catholic doctrine, was known in
Vatican experts say he is yet to begin tackling key problems for the Church, however, including reform of the scandal-ridden
Analysts will keep a particularly close eye on his appointments to top
The status of the powerful Vatican bank, which is under investigation in
His predecessor Benedict XVI's troubled eight-year reign was often overshadowed by the scandals, including an embarrassing leak of hundreds of confidential
Benedict stunned the world by announcing his resignation last month -- the first pope to do so in more than 700 years.
The 85-year-old admitted he no longer had the physical or mental strength to carry out his papal duties.