Newly elected Pope Francis has given his first Angelus prayer to a crowd of more than 100,000 in Saint Peter’s Square. He is due to be officially inaugurated as pope on Tuesday.
Pope Francis spoke from a window high above Saint Peter's Square on Sunday to give his first Angelus prayer and address.
The prayer was the pope's second appearance before the general public since his election on March 13.
"Thank you for your welcome, and for your prayers," he said.
He spoke of God's power to forgive and the meaning of mercy, sentiments he had preached earlier Sunday during his homily at the small Santa Anna Church inside the Vatican.
''To me, I say this humbly, the strongest message of the Lord is mercy," he said. "The Lord never gets tired of forgiving."
Inauguration on Tuesday
Francis, formerly Jorge Mario Bergoglio, will be officially inaugurated as pope on Tuesday in Saint Peter's Square, an event that is expected to be attended by numerous world leaders.
Francis is also due to visit his predecessor Benedict XVI on March 23 for the first time since his election.
Last month, Benedict became the first pope to resign in 700 years, saying he no longer had the strength to lead the church.
In the 2005 papal election, Bergoglio is believed to have been runner-up to Benedict.
The Argentine former archbishop of Buenos Aires is known for his image as a simple man of the people.
hc/slk (Reuters, AFP, AP)