Mar 19, 2013
By Jane Brown
Tens of thousands of faithful and dignitaries from around the world were in Rome’s St. Peter`s Square earlier today. They witnessed Pope Francis the First officially begin his ministry in a formal installation ceremony.
The event began with Pope Frances taking a long round-about through St. Peter’s Square – even getting out of his open air jeep to bless a disabled man. For nearly half an hour, Pope Francis toured the square, shouting “Ciao!” to well-wishers and occasionally kissing babies handed up to him.
Among the VIPs who were in attendance, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, Bartholomew. He is the first patriarch from the Istanbul-based church to attend a papal investiture since the two branches of Christianity split nearly 1,000 years ago.
More than 130 official delegations were in attendance at the Vatican, including Canada’s Governor General David Johnston, as the new Pope is officially installed as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
Following today’s ceremony, Governor General David Johnston met the Pope, shook his hand, and exchanged greetings with the new pontiff.
(with contributions from The Associated Press)