Pope Francis attends his Inauguration Mass in St Peter’s Square on March 19, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. The mass is being held in front of an expected crowd of up to one million pilgrims and faithful who have filled the square and the surrounding streets to see the former Cardinal of Buenos Aires officially take up his role as pontiff. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis made his way around St. Peter’s Square in an open-air car, greeting the tens of thousands of people who came to see him installed officially as the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
An estimated 200,000 people stood by as the former Argentine archbishop was inaugurated the 266th occupant of the Throne of St. Peter, said the Vatican. He was elected six days ago to replace Pope Benedict XVI, 85, who last month surprised the world when he bcame the first pope to retire in six centuries.
In his homily, Pope Francis implored the faithful to “never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service.” He said that today, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope.