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Faithful flock to St. Peter's Square for inauguration of Pope Francis

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

In this 360 degree photo, Pope Francis greets the faithful during the Inauguration Mass for Pope Francis in St Peter's Square on March 19, 2013 in Vatican City. Use the navigation buttons to move left, right or to zoom.

Max Rossi / Reuters

Pope Francis waves as he arrives in Saint Peter's Square for his inaugural mass at the Vatican. Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural mass on Tuesday among political and religious leaders from around the world and amid a wave of hope for a renewal of the scandal-plagued Roman Catholic Church.

Tony Gentile / Reuters

Pope Francis arrives in Saint Peter's Square for his inaugural mass at the Vatican, on March 19. Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural mass on Tuesday among political and religious leaders from around the world and amid a wave of hope for a renewal of the scandal-plagued Roman Catholic Church.

Claudio Peri / EPA

Pope Francis blesses a child as he arrives in St. Peter's square for his inauguration mass, Vatican City, on March 19. Thousands of faithful, as well as political and religious dignitaries from all over the world, were expected to attend the inauguration mass of Pope Francis.

Alessandro Di Meo / EPA

Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the papamobile during his inauguration mass in St. Peter's square, Vatican City, March 19. Hundreds of thousands of faithful, as well as political and religious dignitaries from all over the world, were expected to attend the inauguration mass of Pope Francis.

Gregorio Borgia / AP

Cardinals from around the world gathered in the Vatican to elect the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

By Claudio Lavanga and Alastair Jamieson, NBC News

Pope Francis issued an appeal for the protection of the weak, the poor and the world environment Tuesday at a special Mass marking his inauguration as the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

During the homily, he told a crowd of up to 200,000 gathered in front of the Vatican: “I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” Continue reading this story here.