Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pope Francis is Installed Today As the 266th Pope

Recently-elected Pope Francis got installed today through the inaugural Mass he offered at St. Peter’s Square, where about 150,000 people were present, report different news sources. 

In his Mass, the Pope received a pallium (a two-inch wide sheep-wool scarf worn over the neck, chest and shoulders, signifying a bishop – in this case, the Bishop of Rome – being the good shepherd of his sheep all over the world), a fisherman’s ring (representing the Apostle Peter -- the first Pope – with the keys, symbolizing papal authority over the Universal Church) and a book of Gospels (symbolizing the Pope being the preacher of the Good News of Jesus Christ). 

Among the present in the Mass were a number of royal dignitaries, heads of state, and diplomats from over 132 countries besides some representatives of different religions, including various Christian denominations,  Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism and several hundred cardinals, bishops, priests and men and women from Religious Orders. 

Unlike his predecessors who gave homilies in Latin, Pope Francis gave his homily in Italian language. He said that the Church’s mission “means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about.” 

“I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility, let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and the environment,” he further mentioned.

After the Mass, visiting diplomats and visiting representatives of foreign governments greeted the Pope inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

It is noteworthy that breaking the protocol, Pope Francis, while passing by spectators on an open-top Mercedes-Benz SUV, stopped to kiss a baby and he also came out of his vehicle to greet and kiss a totally disabled man. 

The Pope’s humility, austerity and love of common people, have been drawing attention of people of all faiths throughout the world.

Pope Francis offered his inaugural Mass under a canopy erected at the foot of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican

Pope Francis is offering Mass
Pope Francis is blessing the participants
The pope is praying in front a statue of the Madonna

Participants facing St. Peter's Basilica

Participants and pilgrims from different countries
Participants in Pope Francis' inaugural Mass at St. Peter's Square
The Pope is riding an open-top vehicle
The bell at St. Peter's Basilica announces the end of the papal Mass
The Pope kisses a baby
Pope Francis greets and blesses a disabled man in the audience
Photo courtesy: (From top: First six and Nos. 10 and 11 photos - BBC; Nos. 7, 8 and 9 photos - CBC News)

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