VATICAN CITY (KDKA/AP) – Pope Francis has urged princes, presidents, sheikhs and thousands of ordinary people gathered for his installation Mass to protect God’s creation, the weakest and the poorest of the world.
He is officially beginning his ministry as the 266th pope with a clear focus of his priorities.
Francis was interrupted by applause several times during his homily Tuesday, including when he spoke of the need to protect the environment and serve one another with love and tenderness and not allow “omens of destruction,” hatred, envy and pride to “defile our lives.”
Francis said the pope “must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important.”
Bishop Zubik speaks to KDKA-AM’s Larry Richert about his thoughts on Pope Francis, and he says the new pope is “batting a thousand.”
“What a powerful, powerful, powerful witness this was for a simple love for Jesus, a simple love for His church, and a simple love for the people of the world,” says Zubik.
Bishop Zubik says Pope Francis has been touching the hearts of everyone who is watching. He points to a moment during the Inauguration Mass, when Pope Francis left the Popemobile to consul a severely handicapped man.
“He kissed the man on the forehead, and that man was beaming from ear to ear,” says Zubik. “It so touched into what he then said in his homily. He said, ‘it’s not about me, it’s about Jesus.’”
Here in Pittsburgh, Bishop Zubik has declared a “free day” for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Students will have the day off to watch the Holy Father’s inaugural public Mass in Rome, Italy.
Zubik will also hold a special mass of celebration at 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. Paul Cathedral.