Catholics Gather to Honor Pope Francis

Mass of Thanksgiving on the occasion of the Inaugural Mass of the Pontificate of His Holiness, Pope Francis

March 18, 2013

Most Rev. Barry C. Knestout, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving on the occasion of the inaugural Mass of His Holiness, Pope Francis at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on the Feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
12:10 p.m.
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle
1725 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

At the Mass in Washington, local Catholics will gather to pray in solidarity for Pope Francis and his pontificate, as well as for Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, who will be attending the Inaugural Mass of the Pontificate at the Vatican. Cardinal Wuerl was one of 11 U.S. Cardinals who took part in the conclave to elect a successor to Saint Peter, the first pope.

At 9:30 a.m. at the Vatican (4:30 a.m. EDT) on March 19, 2013, Pope Francis will be installed at the 265th successor of St. Peter. The inaugural Mass is expected to be attended by thousands in St. Peter’s Square, and as many as 200 foreign delegations.

During this Mass, Pope Francis will receive his papal regalia, including a pallium, which is a wool vestment worn to symbolize the office of a bishop, and his “fisherman’s ring.” A new ring is cast in gold for each pope as a reminder that the pontiff is a successor of Saint Peter, who was a fisherman by trade. Since the ring symbolizes the office of the pope and his authority, at the end of each pontificate, the ring is destroyed.

The Archdiocese of Washington has created resources on the papacy entitled, The Keys to the Kingdom. They include educational materials to educate the faithful about the Petrine ministry of the Supreme Pontiff.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 97 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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