The Mass for the inauguration of new Pope Francis, elected on Wednesday to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, will be held on March 19, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said.
The Vatican Today news website reported that, according to Lombardi, “the Mass for the inauguration of the Petrine Ministry will be held March 19th, the feast of St. Joseph, at 09:30 Rome time.”
White smoke rose above the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican on Wednesday to herald the election by 115 cardinals of the new, 266th, head of the Roman Catholic Church. Argentina’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, known as “Padre Jorge” among his faithful in Buenos Aires, was elected by cardinals from across the world who gathered in the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday evening.
Lombardi said that before March 19 the new pope will hold an audience with all cardinals and will do the traditional Angelus blessing on Sunday.
The Vatican Today also reported that Lombardi described his fellow Jesuit Pope Francis as “A man who cooks for himself, takes public transport rather than using cars and who is a simple pastor.”
Lombardi also said it will be the first Jesuit pope, admitting his surprise, because “Jesuits think of themselves servants, not authorities in the church,” the Vatican Today reported.
Associated Press cited Lombardi as saying that the name of the new pope is Francis without a Roman numeral.
“It will become Francis I after we have a Francis II,” AP quoted him as saying.
After he was elected Francis appeared on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, cheered by tens of thousands of rain-soaked people in St. Peter’s Square, who had been awaiting the announcement of the new pontiff’s name.
One of his first acts was to give a telephone call to Benedict XVI, Pope emeritus.
Pope Benedict XVI, 85, announced his decision to step down on February 11, blaming his failing health for his inability to “govern the barque of St. Peter.” He was the first pontiff to resign in some 600 years. Benedict had become the 265th Pope in 2005 following his predecessor John Paul II’s death.