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    Posted March 19, 2013 by
    joelsdb
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    Rome, Italy
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    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Catholics: Your views on new pope

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    Francis on His Inauguration: To open his arms and protect God's people

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Filipino priest joelsdb had a front row seat for the inauguration of Pope Francis in Rome Tuesday. He was enthralled by the spectacle, and the contrasting humility, of the newly elected pontiff. "The Pope spoke with such passion and force that the words exuded life and thus, as he spoke, there were instances of spontaneous applause," he said. "In the piazza, people who haven't even known each other exchanged smiles, happy that they belong to one big family."
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    It was a fitting day to formally begin the office of the papacy: the feast of St. Joseph, the patron of the Universal Church by way of his mission to guard and protect Jesus and Mary. The homily delivered by the Holy Father drew its inspiration from this task given by God to Joseph. Pope Francis stressed that this role of protecting is a prime responsibility of the Pope: "he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important". Protecting creation, he said, was also the responsibility of each one--not only of Christians, but everyone.

     

    If a mere reading of this text on paper or on the computer screen or on a tablet is inspiring enough, listening to Pope Francis deliver the homily was a pleasure! The Pontiff spoke with such passion and force that the words exuded life and thus, as he said his piece, there were instances of spontaneous applause.

     

    Tens of thousands indeed have gathered for the occasion which, in times past, when with the papacy came a great deal of temporal power, the inauguration was some sort of a coronation, with the Supreme Pontiff crowned with the three layered crown or that Tiara. Now the ceremony of the tiara has long gone but important symbolisms continue to accompany this important inaugural ceremonies: in particular the investiture with the pallium and the wearing of the fisherman's ring.

     

    The joy and enthusiasm of the past days that began at the election of the new Pope has not waned. Prior to the celebration of the Holy Mass, Pope Francis came out unexpectedly in the popemobile which roved around St. Peter's Square. He was greeted with a lot of cheers.

     

    The ceremonies that followed were the rites of the pallium and the ring which began at the crypt inside the Basilica of St. Peter and then the Holy Eucharist at St. Peter's Square which was packed with the clergy, dignitaries, religious men and women, lay faithful. And all these from different countries visibly identified with the various flags all around. Within the Latin Mass were also heard different languages in the readings and prayers.

     

    If I could say what struck me about this gathering, I would say that there was much familiarity. More and more we feel the Church's universal character. In the piazza, people who haven't even known each exchange smiles, happy that they belong to one big family.

     

    This brings a lot of hope for I know what we saw at Saint Peter's Square, with a man like Francis, will flow outward, possibly to the ends of the earth. And thus, there is a lot of sense, a lot meaning in his words: to open his arms to protect this people, to protect God's creation.

     

    Photos:
    1) Pope Francis, when he came near us (about two meters away from where I was);
    2) the Popemobile as it was driving near us;
    3) Peter's statue and his successor on the huge television screen;
    4) Pope Francis delivering the homily;
    5) the Pope at the altar;
    6) communion time, complete with umbrellas with the Vatican's yellow and white;
    7) banners of support, including one from the Pope's own diocese, Rome;
    8) various flags, including one I do not often see here, that of East Timor;
    9) various flags included that of my own country, the Philippines;
    10) I was there!

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