The Holy Father: “Protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person.” The Grand Master present with the Order of Malta’s official delegation.
“Let us never forget that real power is service…of the poorest, the weakest,” said Pope Francis, choosing “Care” and “Protection” as the leading themes of his homily during the Solemn Mass that officially marked the of start of his papacy. In front of a packed St. Peter’s Square, the Pope stressed the need to protect each other, “showing loving concern for each and every one, especially children, the elderly, and those in need, who are the last we often think about.”
“Please, I would like to say to all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: we are ‘keepers’ of creation, the plan of God inscribed in nature, custodians of each other, and of the environment. Do not let the signs of destruction and death accompany the journey of our world! But to ‘guard’ we must also look aftr each other,” said the Holy Father. “We should not be afraid of goodness, nor of tenderness.”
More than 130 official delegations attended the Holy Mass. After the ceremony the Grand Master Fra ‘Matthew Festing, accompanied by members of the Sovereign Council of the Order of Malta, paid homage to the new Pope, who then proceeded to greet the heads of State assembled for the inaugural Mass in strict alphabetical order.
200,000 gathered in Saint Peter’s Square to greet the successor of Benedict XVI to the Petrine ministry and 680 volunteers supervised the area near St Peter’s. Among these were the doctors and nurses of the First Aid Post run by the Order of Malta. The Post, just a few metres from the facade of the Basilica, offers free medical care to pilgrims all year round.
The volunteers of the Italian Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta, CISOM, participated too in offering medical assistance with 46 volunteers – including 6 doctors and 4 nurses – two ambulances and a secondary referral medical post.
The full text of Pope Francis’s homily: