Pope Francis Appears For First Angelus

Photo Credit: Telegraph.co.uk

“Thank you for your welcome, and for your prayers,” the first pope from Latin America said from a window of the papal apartment high above the square. “Pray for me,” he added.

Dozens of flags from Francis’s native Argentina were waving in the crowd as the former cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio recited the traditional Sunday Angelus prayer, the first of his papacy.

The occasion has traditionally been a moment to comment on international issues, but Francis instead used the occasion to emphasise his Italian roots.

The former Buenos Aires archbishop, whose father emigrated from Italy’s northwestern Piedmont region, said he chose to name himself after St Francis of Assisi because of his “spiritual ties with this land”. Earlier the pontiff was treated like a rock star on a visit to a parish church. Around 1,000 people thronged a narrow passageway outside the Church of Saint Anna, his local parish church just inside the Vatican gates, as he arrived for mass.

In dramatic contrast with the reserved style of his predecessors, he walked along a hastily constructed barrier reaching deep into the crowd, shaking hands, laughing and joking.

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