Sunday, March 31 2013, 09:53 PM MDT
Pope Francis Calls For Peace On Easter Sunday
(CNN) -- Pope Francis celebrated his first Easter Mass with departures from the style of his predecessor even as he delivered a traditional call for peace.
Before a joyous crowd carrying flags from around the world in St. Peter's Square, he drew attention to the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East in his Urbi et Orbi blessing.
Francis prayed for peace in the Middle East, particularly between Israelis and Palestinians who have struggled to "end a conflict that has lasted all too long."
He also called for peace for Syrians -- both those devastated by violence in the country and refugees in need of help -- and asked for harmony in the troubled African nations of Mali and the Central African Republic.
While it's traditional for the pope to deliver a message of peace on Easter Sunday, his direct interactions with the crowd reinforced stylistic differences between him and the austere, distant approach of Benedict XVI, observers said.