Cairo - Egypt's Christians are still mourning fellow members of the Coptic Orthodox community murdered this month by jihadists, but there is also joy ahead of Pope Francis's visit this weekend.
In a Cairo Church amid wafting incense, strident percussion and prayers, worshippers are looking forward to the Roman Catholic pope's arrival on Friday, seeing his two-day trip as one of support for their minority community.
It will be the Argentine pontiff's first visit to the Arab world's most populous nation where the population is 90% Muslim.
His already arranged trip rapidly assumed a highly symbolic tone after two jihadist suicide bombers on April 9 targeted Coptic churches in the northern cities of Alexandria and Tanta.
The Islamic State group said it was behind the attacks which killed 45 people.
"Obviously everyone is worried after what happened," said 23-year-old student Karim Saber after a Sunday night mass at the Virgin Mary Catholic Coptic Cathedral in northern Cairo.
"But by coming to Egypt, the pope is showing us that nothing can prevent us from praying, including terrorism."
The threat remains ever-present, however, as the jihadists have threatened further attacks against the Copts who make up some 10% of Egypt's population of more than 90 million.
On April 18, ISIS gunmen attacked a police checkpoint near the famed St Catherine's monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai, killing one officer and wounding three.
But at Sunday night's mass in Cairo there was optimism.
'A blessing for us'
"After each painful moment, there is always something beautiful which brings joy," said 25-year-old graphic designer Dina Fahmi.