Pope Francis Ends First Day with Mass

World | March 14, 2013, Thursday // 18:18|  views

Newly elected Pope Francis I waves as he leaves the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy, 14 March 2013. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Pope Francis has spent his first day at the helm of the Catholic Church meeting people in Rome ahead of a Sistine Chapel Mass with cardinals.

After private prayers at the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, he crossed the road to a local school to meet children and commuters heading to work.

The Pope later went to the priests' residence in Piazza Navona to pick up his belongings and pay his bill.

He will also start the process of appointing senior staff at the Vatican.

As the first Latin American - and the first Jesuit - pope, Francis has received a flood of goodwill messages from around the world.

But the 76-year-old Argentine, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, also faces a series of tough challenges.

The Church has been dogged by infighting and scandals over clerical sex abuse and alleged corruption.

The BBC's David Willey, in Rome, says that Pope Francis becomes head of the Church at a critical moment in its history.

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Tags: francis, Pope, Benedict XVI


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