The Inauguration of Pope Francis

In a giant inaugural mass before more than 100,000 worshipers in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis was officially installed as then new head of the Catholic Church.

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The eyes of Catholics around the globe were on the Vatican this morning for the inaugural mass of Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis. Dozens of world leaders gathered along with tens of thousands of worshipers in St. Peter's Square for the official installation of Francis as the new Pontiff. In a moving homily, Francis called upon the faithful to protect the weak and vulnerable, as well as all of "God's creation" with the belief that "the true power is service."

 (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

The livestream is over, but you can read all our earlier updates—and see some great images—from the ceremony below. (All times given are Eastern, Rome is 5 hours ahead.)


7:17 a.m.: There's the big guy. Vice President Joe Biden meets the Pope.

And one more:

6:57 a.m.: Multitasking:

6:45 p.m.: Argentine President Christina Kirchner is first to greet the Pope on the receiving line, followed by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, lame duck Prime Minister Mario Monti, and then some assorted European princes. This will likely go on for quite some time, as all the visiting dignitaries will get to greet him.

6:20 a.m.: The crowds are now filing out, even as the music continues in St. Peter's Square. The church bells have also begun to ring out signaling that the Pope is officially installed in his new position and the Church once again has a leader. The Pope will greet the visiting dignitaries on a receiving line inside the basilica after the mass is fully over.

(AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

6:26 a.m.: The Pope is now heading back inside as the singing continues in the square.

6:25 a.m.: As the final hymns are being sung, the College of Cardinals begin leading the procession back inside the Basilica.

6:23 a.m.: The Vatican estimates that somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 people are in St. Peter's Square for the mass.

6:21 a.m.: The Mass is starting to wrap up now, with the final rites and prayers being performed.

6:10 a.m.: The guest getting the most camera time at the ceremony is Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the President of Argentina. She has publicly feuded with the (now-former) Archbishop of Buenos Aries in the past, but she and Pope Francis did have a reconciliation of sorts this week. She was seated in the front row among the foreign dignitaries, wearing a black dress and black hat.

6:00 a.m.: Priests (carrying yellow and white umbrellas) are now fanning out through the crowd to offer communion to guests, as Pope Francis delivers wafers to those on the altar with him.

5:58 a.m.: All the attendees are doing the traditional sign of peace, where parishioners offer a handshake to those standing near them. Pope Francis included Bartholomew of the Eastern Orthodox Church in his peace offering.

5:52 a.m.: Here's the full text (in English) of the Pope's homily, if you'd like to read it.

5:50 a.m.: This baby will probably appreciate this moment a lot more when she's older.

(AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

5:40 a.m.: The Pope is now going through the blessing of the offerings (the bread and wine) for the Eucharist (or Communion.)

(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

5:35 a.m.: We're on page 59 of the prayers if you're still following along. The program includes this prayer in Arabic: "May almighty God, by his wisdom, enlighten their minds and lead them to help build the civilization of love." It also included prayers in French, Chinese, and other world languages.

5:28 a.m.: Francis' final line in his homily: "To you all, I say pray for me. Amen."

5:25 a.m.: Francis: "Let us never forget that the true power is service." Quoting Matthew: "Only he who serves knows how to protect."

5:23 a.m.: Pope Francis makes several references to protect the environment and the natural world as one of "God gifts."  He reminds believers more than once to protect the weakest in society, especially children and the elderly.

(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

5:16 a.m.: Pope Francis is now giving his sermon, beginning by discussing Joseph and his role, given to him by God, as the protector of Mary and the baby Jesus (and by extension, the entire Church.)

5:11 a.m.: Another significant guest is Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. It's significant not just because he's the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church, but because he's the first Patriarch to attend a papal inauguration in 959 years—since a theological schism split the Eastern Orthodox from the Roman Catholic Church.

5:09 a.m.:  This group of prelates are representing the Eastern church and were chanting in Greek.

5:01 a.m.: The actual Mass is now underway with a series of hymns and prayers. Correcting our earlier update, this program does include both the original Latin and English translations. (We're at about page 43 now.)

4:53 a.m.: Here's another good look at the Square.

4:42 a.m.: Pope Francis is now receiving the pallium (a ribbon-like vestment bestowed on the Pope) and the Fisherman's Ring, which contains his papal seal. Here's a picture of the ring that Francis will wear. The image is a depiction of St. Peter holding a set of keys. (The keys to Heaven.)

4:40 a.m.: Pope Francis is now at the outdoor altar, set up in the Square for the occasion. Here's a good look at the set-up.

4:37 a.m.: Among the many, many foreign dignataries in attendence are Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who are representing the United States' official delegation. Another "notable": Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, who is actually forbidden to travel to the European Union, due to various accusations of human rights abuses, but the Vatican is exempt from that travel ban.

4:27 a.m.: Here is Pope Francis descending to the tomb of St. Peter, where he's offering a brief prayer and blessing.

4:25 a.m.: The Cardinals and the Pope are arriving inside St. Peter's Basilica right now. A live stream of the proceedings is available above. You can also follow along with the ceremonial program provided by the Vatican... if you read Latin.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.