US Vice President Joe Biden attended the Inauguration Mass of newly elected Pope Francis the First in St Peter's Square, Vatican City within the confines of Rome, Italy on March 19, 2013.
Joe Biden was attending with his sister Valerie Biden, both identifiable in their dark aviator sunglasses in the immediate crowd. President Barack Obama was not attending and is currently entertaining Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the U.S. Capitol and attended the annual Friends of Ireland luncheon, which usually coincides with St. Patricks's Day, hosted by the House of Representatives.
Making his way to St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis made his way around St Peter's Square in the popemobile, top down, but surrounded by lots of clergy and the colorfully dressed Swiss Guards, who could probably give the right amount of support like a SWAT team!
Surrounding him were residents of Rome and people, laymen and clergy alike, royalty and heads of state, all assembled to be part of this historical moment and perhaps to meet him in person. As he made his way through the crowd today, Pope Francis kissed and blessed several children and other faithful.
Pope Francis also met personally with the Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner inside St Peter's Basilica as well as other heads of state and politicians including Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and his wife Cecilia Morel, British MP Kenneth Clarke, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, David Johnston, and the Governor General of Canada, and his wife Sharon.
Among royalty attending the today were Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene, Prince Richard the Duke of Gloucester, Birgitte the Duchess of Gloucester, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Princess Maxima, Crown Prince Willem Alexander, Prince Felipe of Spain and Princess Letizia, and King Albert II of Belgium and Queen Paola of Belgium.
The Inauguration Mass had an anticipated crowd of up to one million pilgrims and faithful who crowded into St Peter's Square and surrounding streets to see the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires officially take up his papal position as leader of some 1.3 billion Catholics.
From a fashion standpoint for my style and fashion readers, who are going to be looking at the slideshow to see what people were wearing, a lot of ladies in attendance today chose to wear black, covering their heads with black head covers in the way of a Spanish mantilla out of deference for the Pope.
Pope Francis’s message today was that his focus would be to serve the disadvantaged and to address the readjustment of priorities in the Catholic Church hierarchy.
Perhaps his most important statement during the mass was “I'd like to ask, please, to anyone who is in charge of the economy, politics, society – to all men and women of good will – let's be custodians of creation and of the design of God inscribed in nature – custodian of others and of the environment.”
But it makes one wonder why President Barack Obama as a Christian and head of state did not meet today with the Pope Francis…
However, Biden went in his stead as a wonderful gesture and representation of the Obama administration and that was indeed a great idea!