HOUSTON (CBS Houston) Pope Francis, the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, was officially inaugurated as the 266th occupant of the Throne of St. Peter Tuesday in front of thousands of people.
Thousands spilled out of St. Peter’s Square to watch the Mass that marked the official start of the papacy of the former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. It is believed that 150,000-200,000 people packed into St. Peter’s Square and on Via Conciliazione to view the historic event.
During the homily, Pope Francis told the crowd to become vigilant, caring, concerned and productive world citizens: “I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment,” Pope Francis said.
He also added: “We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness.”
World leaders including Vice President Joe Biden, were among those attending the ceremony, titled the “Inauguration of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome.”
A formal procession to the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica was followed by the formal presentation to Francis of the pallium, which is a a lamb’s wool scarf symbolizing Jesus as the good shepherd.
Pope Francis was elected on March 13, 2013 and he serves as head of both the Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State.
Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, he was ordained as a priest in 1969 and served as head of the Society of Jesus in Argentina from 1973 to 1979.