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Nearly 200 political and religious delegations expected for Inauguration Mass at St. Peter's Square

2013-03-18

The Mass will begin at 9:30AM, but activity starts nearly an hour before,when the Pope takes a ride across St. Peter's Square before getting ready inside the Basilica. For just the second time, he will be joined by other Catholic leaders.

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
Vatican Spokesperson
"The patriarchs and the major archbishops, the leaders of all the Eastern Catholic Churches will take part. They along with the Pope will head down to the Tomb of St. Peter to pay homage, and pray.”

They will lead a procession with the Fisherman's ring and stole, symbolizing the Pope's role as the Shepherd or the Church. 

Once in the Square, Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, as Protodeacon, will place the stole on him. Cardinal Godfried Danneels, as Protopriest, will lead a prayer. And the Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano, will hand him the newly-designed, gold-plated, silver Fisherman's ring.

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
Vatican Spokesperson
"This time around the Pope will receive a ring featuring Saint Peter with the papal keys.”

Six cardinals, two from each order in the college, will then render the homage of obedience to the Pope, sealing the inauguration ceremony as Pope.

But it then gives way to the solemn Mass for the Feast Day of St. Joseph. As has been his style, Pope Francis will shorten the ceremony to make it simpler. A notable change, and perhaps also a nod to the Oriental Catholic Churches, will be the Gospels.

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
Vatican Spokesperson
"For simplicity, during this Mass the Gospels will be sung only in Greek, because the rest of the Mass will be in Latin.” 

After the mass is over, the Pope will head back inside the Basilica and greet the delegates from 132 countries that have confirmed their participation so far.

Several interfaith leaders will also be there, most prominently, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, as well as delegates from 32 other Christian and 16 Jewish groups. Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh and Jainism delegates will also be in attendance. The Vatican is expecting at least 200,000 faithful to attend. 


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