The inauguration Mass for Pope Francis has been held in St Peter’s Square in Rome, marking the start of his papacy.
In bright sunshine the Bishop of Rome toured the square in an open top white jeep abandoning the bullet-proof Popemobile favoured by Benedict.
He greeted the faithful including young babies one of whom was handed up to him on his jeep while later he descended from the vehicle to bless a handicapped person in the crowd.
The Bishop of Rome then went inside the Basilica and processed to the tomb of St. Peter with trumpets sounding and the choir singing “Tu es Petrus”. He prayed at the tomb. It was a deeply personal moment for the man who at the age of 17 felt called to enter the priesthood.
In front of the crowd and world leaders who were seated outside in the Basilica the Pallium, recalling the Good Shepherd who carries the lost sheep on his shoulders, was placed around Pope Francis.
Cardinal Deacon Sodano then put the Fisherman’s Ring on Francis’s finger. The ring was chosen by the Pope and is made of gold-plated silver and depicts St. Peter holding the keys.
The Mass then followed which officially installed Francis as the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.