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Protect weak and poor, says Pope Francis at inaugural Mass

Last updated on: March 19, 2013 20:52 IST

Protect weak and poor, says Pope Francis at inaugural Mass

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Tens of thousands gathered at St Peters Square at the Vatican on Tuesday for the installation Mass of Pope Francis who officially began his ministry as the 266th pope.

 The Italian media estimated the crowd reached 1 million as civil protection crew closed the main streets to St Peters Square for traffic.  

Pope Francis toured the square in an open-air jeep, waving out to the crowds.

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Photographs: Tony Gentile/Reuters
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In keeping with the new Pope's style, the installation Mass was kept simple but opulent enough to draw 132 official delegations and religious leaders from around the world, including controversial heads of state like Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.

Giving his homily before the throngs, Francis showed the humility and concern for ordinary people that have been noted since he became the first Latin American to be elected pope six days ago, the CNN reported.

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Image: Faithful watch the inaugural mass of Pope Francis on a giant screen next to the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires.
Photographs: Enrique Marcarian/Reuters
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Before the Mass began, Francis received the fisherman's ring symbolising the papacy and a wool stole symbolising his role as shepherd of his 1.2-billion strong flock. He also received vows of obedience from a half-dozen cardinals -- a potent symbol given his predecessor Benedict XVI is still alive, reported AFP

Back in Indian, churches across Goa held special prayers as a thanks giving to Pope Francis, on the day when he inaugurated his ministry in the Vatican.

"The special prayers were held in all the churches as per the circular issued by the Archbishop," Fr Fransisco Caldeira, spokesman for Archbishop of Goa and Daman, said.

Parishioners in large numbers participated in the thanksgiving prayers, he said.

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Image: Prince Willem-Alexander (third right) and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, Spain's Prince Felipe (second right) and Princess Letizia and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the inaugural mass of Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Photographs: Paul Hanna/Reuters
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Protect weak and poor, says Pope Francis at inaugural Mass

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In his inaugural message Pope Francis said the role of the pope is to open his arms and protect all of humanity, but "especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison," The Globe and Mail reported.

"Today amid so much darkness we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others," he said. "To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope, it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds," he said.

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Image: The papal mitre is placed on the head of Pope Francis during his inaugural mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican.
Photographs: Paul Hanna/Reuters
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Faithful carry a Vatican flag as they wait to watch the televised broadcast of the inaugural mass of Pope Francis near the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires.

Photograph: Enrique Marcarian/Reuters



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An unidentified bishop shields his eyes from the sun before the inaugural mass for Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

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