Cardinal Sean Brady, Catholic Primate of All-Ireland, has spoken in his Easter message of his visit to the Vatican for the election of Pope Francis.

He said while Lent was traditionally a time of fasting and abstinence in preparation for Easter, this year it was also a time of great excitement.

“I was privileged to be in Rome during the last days of the papacy of Pope Benedict, the conclave and the beginning of the papacy of Pope Francis. These were, and continue to be, exciting days,” Brady said.

“Pope Francis’s inspiring words have been supported by actions, which have provided iconic images beamed across the world.”

As if echoing Cardinal Brady’s words, Pope Francis at his first Easter Sunday Mass before 250,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, called for world peace and an end to greed. He prayed that Jesus would inspire people to “change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace.” He spoke of peace being threatened by violence linked to drug-trafficking.

Back in Ireland, Catholic Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin also spoke of deaths linked to drug gangs. He called on Christians to take a courageous stand against the “culture of vendetta and killing” which was mowing people down on Irish streets.

He told the Irish Independent after his Easter Sunday Mass at a packed Pro-Cathedral, “I am thinking of people being mowed down in our streets, and I don’t like to say criminal violence or political violence as if one is different to the other. I have constantly said violence is a dead end and it will just provoke other violence.”

The archbishop also called for a “re-structured and de-structured” church to allow it to witness to the sense of meaning and purpose that Jesus brought to the lives of believers.

In his Easter message, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson said Christianity could no longer afford historical division without compromise.

“The people of Ireland have always found that peace is both precious and elusive. We have so often been on the verge of it and it has slipped between our fingers because we are perhaps too well known to one another, or too wedded to our exclusive histories to see that the compromise which is necessary brings with it the dividend of new life beyond caricature,” he said.