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Pope Francis Kick-Starts Holy Week

Eric Parra |
March 24, 2013 | 11:27 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer


The new pope Francis (Creative Commons)
The new pope Francis (Creative Commons)
Pope Francis opened his first Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square by encouraging people to be young and humble at heart.

The crowd at the Vatican was estimated to be around 250,000 people overflowing in the square, all to witness the first kick off of the Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter to honor Jesus’ return to Jerusalem before the festive holiday.

READ MORE: Pope Francis' First Day

From Bigstory:

“Keeping with his spontaneous style, the first pope from Latin America broke away several times from the text of his prepared homily to encourage the faithful to lead simple lives and resist the temptation to be sad when life's obstacles inevitably come their way.

"Don't let yourselves be robbed of hope! Don't let yourselves be robbed of hope!" Francis told the crowd, in an apparent reference to the economic difficulties people are grappling with as they try to find adequate work amid a poor job market in much of the world.”

Pope Francis engaged his assemblage with anecdotes, such as one of his grandmother’s sayings to him when he was young, “children, burial shrouds don’t have pockets,” urging everyone to have a humble lifestyle. 

He continued to reach out to the public by removing his vestments before climbing in the open roofed popemobile and circling the public, shaking hands, kissing, and patting heads of his admirers. He even gave a thumbs-up to a group of children.

“Francis even climbed down from the vehicle, kissed a woman in the crowd and chatted briefly with her, and another man in the crowd leaned over a barrier to squeeze the pontiff on a shoulder — an unheard of familiarity in the previous pontificate of the reserved Benedict XVI.”

In the pope’s speech, he mentioned many evils that plague the world, such as wars, corruption and “economic conflicts that hit the weakest.”

READ MORE: Pope Francis Calls For A Church For The Poor

He admitted that he was looking forward to meeting the young people of Rio de Janiero for the Catholic Church's World Youth Day, his first scheduled trip set in July. 

“Holy Week will see at least one break from tradition with this new papacy. Instead of washing priests' feet in a basilica in a symbolic gesture of humility on Holy Thursday, Francis will wash the feet of young inmates at a juvenile detention center in Rome. Other appointments in public will include the Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum on Good Friday night. Next Sunday, Francis will celebrate Easter Mass in the square.”


Reach Executive Producer Eric Parra here.



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