published Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Pope Francis opens ministry with installation Mass

  • photo
    Pope Francis delivers his speech Friday as he meets the Cardinals for the first time after his election at the Vatican.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has officially begun his ministry as the 266th pope, receiving the ring symbolizing the papacy and a wool stole symbolizing his role as shepherd of his 1.2-billion strong flock.

A cardinal intoned the rite of inauguration at the start of Tuesday's Mass, saying "The Good Shepherd charged Peter to feed his lambs and his sheep; today you succeed him as the bishop of this church."

Later a half-dozen cardinals approached the Argentine-born pope to vow their obedience.

The installation occurred in sun-drenched St. Peter's Square before tens of thousands of people, princes, sheiks, rabbis and presidents.

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