- Created on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 15:55
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The inauguration Mass for Pope Francis is being held in St Peter's Square in Rome, marking the start of his papacy.
Francis earlier toured the square in an open-topped vehicle, descending to bless pilgrims behind the barriers.
His homily called on global leaders and all people of the world to protect the weak and the poor. Up to a million people are attending the Mass.
Francis was elected by a conclave of cardinals last week to take over from Benedict XVI.
Benedict became the first pontiff in 600 years to abdicate last month. Citing his age, 85, he said he could no longer continue in the post.
The first pontiff from the Americas, Francis has suggested he will take a more modest approach than predecessors.
Pope Francis, formerly Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, left his temporary residence at Casa Santa Marta shortly before 09:00 (08:00 GMT) and began touring St Peter's Square.
Pope Francis, 18 March Pope Francis receives the fisherman's ring to begin his papacy
He waved to the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, who flew flags and shouted: "Long live the Pope!"
Rodrigo Grajales, a 31-year-old Colombian priest, told AFP news agency: "With Pope Francis, the Church will be closer to the people and to the modern world."
One of the Pope's first duties was to go down to the tomb of St Peter to venerate it.
Francis was then presented with his papal pallium made of lambs' wool - symbolising his role as shepherd of his flock - in the main square.
He also received the "fisherman's ring" bearing the image of St Peter holding two keys. The ring is second hand and is made of silver-plated gold, not 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.
Francis then delivered his homily, in Italian.
It began by focusing on Joseph and his role as protector - of Mary, Jesus and the Church.
Source - BBC