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Pope Officially Installed as Bishop of Rome

Pope Francis I first appearance
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has been formally installed as bishop of Rome in a ceremony characterized by more simplicity than the usual ritual and pomp enjoyed by papal predecessors taking up their pastoral duties.

In yet another sign that Francis sees his mission as pontiff as one of humble service, he used his arrival at St. John in Lateran Basilica to honor a past pope who remains popular in Rome. Francis arrived a half-hour early to bless a plaque renaming a corner of the piazza outside the church after Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005.

After the Sunday evening installation ceremony, Francis delivered impromptu remarks from the basilica’s balcony. The new pope said, “I ask you to pray for me. I need it, don’t forget.”

Earlier Sunday, about 100,000 people turned out in St. Peter’s Square and a nearby street for his noon blessing.

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