Inauguration of the new pope
March 19th, 2013
07:18 AM ET

Inauguration of the new pope

Pope Francis officially became the Catholic Church's pontiff Tuesday, in a ceremony that the Vatican said ahead of time would be short in keeping with the spirit of simplicity exuded by the new Holy Father. We live-blogged the event below. You can read the full story here

[Updated at 10:21 a.m. ET] That's all for the live blog of Pope Francis' inauguration as the Catholic Church's 266th pontiff. Tens of thousands of people listened from St. Peter's Square in Vatican City as Francis called for the protection of the weakest in society during his homily.

For more on today's event, check out our full story. Also, see a number of select photos of the event.

[Updated at 7:18 a.m. ET] U.S. Vice President Joe Biden greets Pope Francis.

[Updated at 7:15 a.m. ET] Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy greets the pope, as does German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

[Updated at 7:12 a.m. ET] Controversial Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe greets the pope at the Vatican's main altar.

[Updated at 7:04 a.m. ET] A tweet from the pope's account:

Pope Francis ‏@Pontifex  Let us keep a place for Christ in our lives, let us care for one another and let us be loving custodians of creation.

[Updated at 6:45 a.m. ET] Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is the first head of state to greet Pope Francis inside St. Peter’s Basilica after his Inauguration Mass.

[Updated at 6:44 a.m. ET]

[Updated at 6:43 a.m. ET] The crowd for the Inauguration Mass of Pope Francis was smaller than expected, Rome police told CNN, declining to give a specific number.

[Updated at 6:41 a.m. ET] After receiving dignitaries, Francis is expected to go to the Domus Sanctae Marthae for lunch, where the cardinals have been residing for the conclave.

[Updated at 6:27 a.m. ET] Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi estimates that between 150,000 and 200,000 people turned out in and around St. Peter’s Square for the Inauguration Mass of Pope Francis on Tuesday.

[Updated at 6:25 a.m. ET] Francis returns to the Basilica.  Later at the main altar, he will receive dignitaries and heads of state.

[Updated at 6:21 a.m. ET] Mass wrapping up earlier than expected with “Te Deum” being sung.  The pope is expected to return to the Basilica and remove his vestment at the altar of the Pieta.

[Updated at 6:14 a.m. ET] Cardinals receive communion.

[Updated at 6:12 a.m. ET] A contingency of Syrian flags seen waving in the crowd.

[Updated at 6:06 a.m. ET] Dignitaries line up to receive communion at altar.

[Updated at 6:01 a.m. ET] Communion wafers dispensed to the crowd by 500 priests. Pope Francis gives communion to clergy.  Wavers represent the body of Christ. Wine represents the blood of Christ.

[Updated at 5:53 a.m. ET] This is what the Fisherman's ring looks like (Vatican Radio).

[Updated at 5:39 a.m. ET] Read the pope's homily in English.

[Updated at 5:37 a.m. ET] There are readings by others in Russian, French, Arabic, Swahili and Chinese.

[Updated at 5:34 a.m. ET] Crowds packed Buenos Aires’ (Argentina) Plaza de Mayo to watch the Pope’s mass. The mass is being shown on large screens throughout the square.

[Updated at 5:32 a.m. ET] The new pope ends his homily with the request to all to pray for him.

[Updated at 5:30 a.m. ET] To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out..." Francis says.

[Updated at 5:26 a.m. ET] Pope Francis calls on people to care for each other and the environment.

[Updated at 5:19 a.m. ET]  The crowd applauds at the mention of Benedict.

[Updated at 5:18 a.m. ET] It is St. Joseph's Day, Francis says. He points out that it is also the name-day of Pope Emeritus Benedict, whose birth name is Josef Ratzinger.

[Updated at 5:15 a.m. ET] Pope Francis is giving his homily.

[Updated at 5:13 a.m. ET]  The Gospel reading is from the Book of Matthew and describes Joseph’s learning that Mary was “with child” through the Holy Spirit, being told by an angel not to divorce her and that the child will be named Jesus.

[Updated at 4:59 a.m. ET]  Sebastian Gomes reads an English part of the mass.

[Updated at 4:59 a.m. ET] Francis prays that the Church watch over the mysteries of human salvation.

[Updated at 4:57 a.m. ET] The mass is moving along faster than originally planned.

[Updated at 4:55 a.m. ET] From CNN's Kay Jones near the Vatican: Outside the square as Mass begins.

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[Updated at 4:49 a.m. ET] Pope Francis has received the fisherman's ring, a key symbol of the papacy.

[Updated at 4:46 a.m. ET] The pallium is a cloth made of sheep's and lamb's wool, which the pope wears on his shoulders. It symbolizes him carrying the flock of believers on his shoulders.

[Updated at 4:43 a.m. ET] Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran presents Pope Francis with the pallium.

[Updated at 4:41 a.m. ET] Pope Francis uses incense to indicate prayers lifting to God.

[Updated at 4:40 a.m. ET] The vehicle the pope rode in was a Mercedes Benz G-Class sports utility vehicle.

[Updated at 4:38 a.m. ET] Pope Francis is wearing black shoes – not red ones.

[Updated at 4:36 a.m. ET] Waiting for the pope outside for the mass (POOL photo).

[Updated at 4:34 a.m. ET] Pope Francis - with cardinals and bearer the Fisherman's ring and the Pallium - heads back out towards St. Peter's Square.

[Updated at 4:31 a.m. ET] The procession heads back towards St. Peter's Square.

[Updated at 4:29 a.m. ET] The Fisherman's Ring and the Pallium have been removed from St. Peter's tomb.

[Updated at 4:28 a.m. ET] Pope Francis has descended to the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican.

[Updated at 4:24 a.m. ET] Dignitaries in St. Peter’s Square for the Inauguration Mass of Pope Francis include European Union leaders Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of the pope’s native Argentina.  Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, also present, is subject to an EU travel ban but is allowed to visit the continent for religious events and international conferences.

[Updated at 4:21 a.m. ET] In the tomb of St. Peter, deacons of the Church will collect two symbols of the papacy – the fisherman’s ring and the pallium (the scarf-like cloth).

[Updated at 4:19 a.m. ET] Pope Francis spent about 17 minutes circling St. Peter’s Square in his open-topped car before going into St. Peter’s Basilica.

[Updated at 4:18 a.m. ET] Inside St. Peter's Basilica, Francis will visit St. Peter's tomb.

[Updated at 4:12 a.m. ET] Zimbabwe's controversial president Robert Mugabe seen among the dignitaries.

[Updated at 4:07 a.m. ET] Pope Francis continues to wear the simple iron cross he wore as a cardinal and which he wore when he first appeared to the world as pope

[Updated at 4:03 a.m. ET] Pope Francis has at least a dozen security officers in suits walking alongside his car as he circles St. Peter’s Square before his Inauguration Mass.  The pope starts stops to kiss babies.

[Updated at 3:57 a.m. ET] Pope Francis stepped out of his car on St. Peter’s Square to kiss the head of a man with a physical disability.

[Updated at 3:51 a.m. ET] Pope Francis has entered St. Peter's Square in a Jeep to greet the throng of believers, tourists, religious dignitaries and heads of state gathered there for the Mass to inaugurate him Bishop of Rome.

[Updated at 3:40 a.m. ET] Just in time for the inauguration comes asurvey that finds that American Catholics are very enthusiastic about the choice of Pope Francis to head the Roman Catholic Church. Read it here.

[Updated at 3:40 a.m. ET] Here's s a great step-by-step of how the day will unfold

[Posted at 3:37 a.m. ET] Here is the ceremony at a glance

Crowd Size

St Peter's Square normally holds about 100,000 people

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi says that if the Square and Via Conciliazione are full, the crowd is about 250,000.


There will be 132 delegations from around the world, including six reigning sovereigns and 31 heads of state.

Pope Francis' Fisherman's ring:

Pope Francis chose as his ring one with the figure of Peter holding the keys.

He chose it from two or three other possibilities. It is silver plated in gold. The jeweler is Italian artist Enrico Manfrini. The ring used to belong to Pope Paul VI's secretary.

The Pallium:

It is a symbol of Episcopal authority. It is a long white wool scarf with five red crosses.

The pallium represents the good shepherd and the five crosses represent the five wounds of Christ.

The Pope's Coat of Arms:

Francis has decided to keep the same coat of arms and motto for papacy that he had as bishop of Buenos Aires, but will replace the cardinal's hat in the center with the papal hat and keys.

The coat of arms has a blue background, with HIS in the center, which signifies Christ but also Pope's membership to society of Jesus.

The coat of arms also has a yellow the flower of Nard, symbol of St Joseph, and a yellow star, symbol of Madonna.

The Pope's motto is "having had mercy, he called him"

Lombardi showed a picture of the coat of arms Monday's daily press briefing.

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Filed under: Catholic Church • Italy • Religion • Vatican
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. W.

    I really don't get the point of objectifying someone to represent a belief system that is based on loosely orchestrated facts and history. This seems to be more about power and influence than about a "hotline to god." What really is the job of a pope anyway? Sell all the fancy stuff and feed the poor: a better use of religious bling. an irrational number is better than an irrational belief.

    March 19, 2013 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    @ W:
    I think that your reasoning regarding the foundation of religion is sound. However, if all of the Roman Catholic Church's holdings were sold and the money given to the poor, the wealth would soon be spent and the poor would still be unable to support themselves. Then both the clergy and the poor who now give their money to the church would all be hungry, with a few exceptions. As it is now, Christianity is a very successful business.

    March 19, 2013 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. Erin Pascal

    Thank you so much for these updates! It is really useful for us who cannot attend an important event like this. Thank you for highlighting the important parts! I have been tuning in for your updates. Thanks a lot! May God bless the Pope! 🙂

    March 19, 2013 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sheryl ©

    I shall miss Benedict XVI, as he had a wonderful sense of style in his choices of destination shoes.
    However, I am certain that His Holiness Francis will be much more careful than Benedict XVI was in keeping those pesky children's hour issues quiet.

    March 19, 2013 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mount Cashel

    Some seem to think that the Bible is responsible for the Catholic Church, however, this Church is Catholic and tradition trumps the old book, and besides history shows us that Christianity for this church is only a means to an end.

    Consider the history – According to the sources of the day, Constantine had a vision of an illuminated cross over the sun, the sun representing his god – Apollo and the cross representing Christianity. The sources say that the message he received was, "by this, win!", and it has since been generally believed that from this point he was a 'Christian'.

    However, history also abundantly notes that he never gave up his Sun (Apollo) worship, nor did the church he essentially founded. It just blended Sun worship with Christianity, with Christianity being the means to 'win' converts to Sun worship. In order for this to work, the old book had to take a back seat because it condemns the practice.

    History also tells us that the old book was once burned on mass by the Church during the Protestant Reformation after it was made available to the general population, and, believe it or not, at least by some accounts, it is still on the list of banned books, particularly the KJV, by the Vatican. And with the prolifery of bible versions since 1914, one can see why it has essentially become irrelevant to most, considering most do not know which versions are most authentic.

    March 23, 2013 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. margaretrosemaryrohr


    Me and my family have visited a very cozy place recently, you may really like it, just take a look at some pics of it

    See you around, margaret.rohrbacher

    May 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. margaretrosemaryrohr


    Some of my friends think that's really interesting, check it out

    Sent from my iPhone, Tracie Bridges

    July 31, 2017 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |