On Tuesday, March 19, Golden Year 10 (2013), His Holiness Pope Francis was officially inaugurated as the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church in a hope-filled Mass at the Vatican. In His Holiness’s homily, Pope Francis appealed to the world, saying:
His Holiness chose the papal name Francis in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, a friar who embraced all of God’s creatures and nature, and was a champion of the poor and disadvantaged. The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, Pope Francis has already garnered much admiration for his earnest openness, humility, and simplicity, shown in his actions such as choosing to live in a modest apartment rather than in the archbishop’s palace while serving as archbishop in Buenos Aires. In His Holiness’s first public act as Pontiff, Pope Francis humbly requested the estimated 150,000 people at St. Peter’s Square to pray for him, while during Easter Sunday Mass, His Holiness touched people around the globe when he spontaneously approached and lovingly embraced a boy with physical disabilities.
On March 28, Pope Francis celebrated a pre-Easter tradition on Maundy Thursday by gently washing and kissing the feet of 12 young inmates at a juvenile detention center in Rome, Italy. Chosen from detainees aged 14 to 21 at the Casal del Marmo facility, those who had their feet washed came from diverse nationalities and religious backgrounds, with two Muslims and two young women despite tradition formerly restricting the ritual to men. His Holiness explained to the young people:
In profound appreciation of the new pope and stewardship of the Catholic Church, Supreme Master Ching Hai sent the congratulatory card above to His Holiness Pope Francis.