Pope Francis has begun the Catholic Church’s most important liturgical season with a Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican.
250,000 pilgrims crowded St Peter’s Square for the outdoor Mass marking the start of Holy Week.that marks the start of Holy Week.
Sprigs of olive trees have been distributed to the faithful in remembrance of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem before his crucifixion.
The run-up to Easter is considered the most important week in the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.
After Sunday’s Mass, Pope Francis will lead six more liturgies during the week, culminating with the Easter Sunday Mass and Urbi et Orbi blessing.
What the newly-elected Pope says during these services will take on added significance coming at the start of his pontificate.
On Saturday, Pope Francis held a first meeting with his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is now living in retirement near Rome.
Pope Francis was flown by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo for a private lunch with Pope Emeritus Benedict.