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Inauguration mass of Pope Francis held
Pope Francis has officially assumed papal powers on March 19 to become pontiff formally after his election. A special Mass was held in the Vatican City to mark Pope Francis' formal inauguration as the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

Pope Francis first went to the tomb of St. Peter to venerate it. He was then presented with his papal pallium and the "fisherman's ring" bearing the image of St. Peter holding two keys. As a symbol of modesty, the ring is second hand this time and not made of the solid gold worn by Francis' predecessor.

With the reception of the pallium and ring, Francis officially began his office as the 266th pope. The Pope then received the obedience of the cardinals, and the Mass formally began.

After receiving the formal symbols of papal power, during the homily, he told the gathering, “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.”

Wearing his papal whites, Pope Francis issued an appeal for the protection of the weak, the poor and the world environment. He waved, smiled and gave the thumbs-up to the ecstatic crowds in his usual informal style.

He reminded people not to forget that authentic power was service and only those who served with love were able to protect. He stressed the need to respect all creatures and environment.

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