- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It’s official: Pope Francis has started his ministry.

A cardinal gave the rite of inauguration to start the Mass: “The Good Shepherd charged Peter to feed his lambs and his sheep,” he said, as CBS reported. “Today, you succeed him as the bishop of this church.”

Vice President Joseph R. Biden, a Catholic, lead the U.S. delegation for the installation mass.

During a brief meeting, Biden shook the 76-year-old Argentinian pontiff’s hand, and swung his left hand on top of their clasp for extra emphasis as they quickly exchanged words.

Tens of thousands were on hand to witness the ceremony. Pope Francis spent about a half-hour touring St. Peter’s Square, getting out of his Jeep at one point to bestow a blessing on a man in the crowd who sat in a wheelchair, CBS said.

The pope’s message was clear: Love all, be humble and sacrifice, as Jesus did. We are here to protect each other, he said.

“I think he’ll revive the sentiments of Catholics who received the sacraments but don’t go to Mass anymore, and awaken the sentiments of people who don’t believe anymore in the church, for good reason,” said Judith Teloni, an Argentine tourist guide who attended the Mass, as quoted by CBS.

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