Belfast Telegraph

Monday 26 January 2015

New pope visits basilica in Rome

Cardinals arrive for a meeting at the Vatican (AP)
The new pope waves to the crowds from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican (AP)
White smoke billows from the chimney on the Sistine Chapel indicating that a new pope had been elected (AP)
People walk past a sand sculpture of the new pope at the Golden Sea beach on the Bay of Bengal coast in Puri, Orissa state, India (AP)

Pope Francis has opened his pontificate with a visit to Rome's main basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The visit came the day after cardinals elected him the first pontiff from the Americas in a bid to resurrect a Catholic Church in crisis.

The former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, entered the basilica through a side entrance and left about 30 minutes later, Italy's RAI state television said.

He told a crowd of 100,000 people packed into a rain-soaked St Peter's Square just after his election on Wednesday that he intended to pray to the Madonna "that she may watch over all of Rome".

He told cardinals he would also call on retired Pope Benedict XVI on Friday and celebrate an inaugural mass in the Sistine Chapel.

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