Pope sends 'best wishes' to Ireland

Published Tuesday, 19 March 2013
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Pope Francis has sent a personal message to the people of Ireland following his inauguration at the Vatican in Rome.

Pope sends 'best wishes' to Ireland
Francis was officially installed as pope. (© PA)

The 76-year-old pontiff officially began his ministry on Tuesday morning, in front of hundreds of thousands of people at St Peter's Square.

Among the crowd were 132 world political and religious leaders, including six sovereign rulers, 31 heads of state and three princes.

They included Irish President Michael D Higgins, who Pope Francis spoke to after the ceremony during a brief encounter inside the Basilica.

"Best wishes to the people of Ireland," the pontiff said. "And I ask them for their prayers."

Speaking in Spanish, Mr Higgins, replied: "On behalf of the Irish people, who hold a special affection for the people of South America, I want to wish you every success in your vision for the Church.

"My wish for you on behalf of the people of Ireland is that you have the best of health in your mission on behalf of all humanity."

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the first Latin American pope when he was elected last week by the conclave to represent the world's 1.2bn-strong Catholic Church.

The Argentinian received the symbolic ring and the pallium, a wool stole, to mark the beginning of his papacy at the inauguration mass.

During his inaugural sermon, Pope Francis called on world leaders to respect the "beauty of the created world" and protect the weakest in society.

He said: "Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill - let us be 'protectors' of creation, protectors of God's plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment."

As the service got underway, Francis toured St Peter's Square where he kissed babies and blessed a disabled man.

The crowds applauded as the 266th pope paid tribute to his "venerable predecessor", Benedict XVI, and he also quoted from Pope John Paul II.

© UTV News
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29 Comments
me in larne wrote (392 days ago):
i dont think its anti catholicism ryan in belfast i think its just pointing out the facts that you dont like ! A lot of stuff was hidden and swept under the carpets by the catholic church that is a fact just ask those from the magdalene Asylum or ask father brendan smyth or maybe you too would like to get the brush out and brush them away !!
Irish girl in Tyrone wrote (392 days ago):
@maggie... Lets hope the protestants in the north would welcome the pope as thre irish welcomed the queen!
Ryan in Belfast wrote (393 days ago):
Some of the comments on here left mosty by protestants can only be described as anti-catholicism in nature, simply disgusting.
maggie in north west wrote (393 days ago):
Belfast in Belfast. Here is a few facts. The Pope in Rome gave his blessing to William 3rd in his fight to gain the English thone. We cannot suppress the faith of others.They wish the Pope to come here and maybe he will tell them how Christians must behave.
John in Creggan wrote (393 days ago):
Totaly agree the leader of the Catholic church should give up all the churches wealth. Would also encourage that other church head the Queen of Great Britian & Northern Ireland to give up all wealth & dominions.
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