Pope Francis is to celebrate his first Easter vigil Saturday after praying for peace in a Middle East "torn apart by injustice and conflicts" during Good Friday's ceremonies.
The newly elected Argentine pope will preside over a mass at St Peter's Basilica Saturday evening, baptising four adult converts to the Catholic Church during the service -- an Albanian, an Italian, a Russian and a US national of Vietnamese origin, according to the Vatican.
The ceremony will mark the end of three days of intensive Easter preparations set to culminate on Sunday when the Vatican's first non-European pope in nearly 1,300 years celebrates Easter mass in front of tens of thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square.
Francis marked Good Friday with a traditional torch-lit ceremony around the Colosseum in Rome, presiding over the re-enactment of Jesus Christ's last hours and praying for Christians in the Middle East and for "our Muslim brothers".
"Christians must respond to evil with good, taking the cross upon themselves as Jesus did," said Francis, who followed the ceremony from under a canopy overlooking the 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre.