Pope Francis celebrated mass in a small Vatican church Sunday ahead of his first Angelus prayer before an expected 200,000 faithful, focusing a brief homily on a message of mercy.
''To me, I say this humbly, the strongest message of the Lord is mercy," he said. "The Lord never gets tired of forgiving."
The mass led by the first Latin American pontiff was held in the Santa Anna Church within the Vatican walls ahead of his first appearance in a window of the papal apartments at noon (1100 GMT).
The delivery of the traditional Angelus prayer, followed by remarks expected to touch on international issues, will be the pope's second appearance before the general public since his surprise election on Wednesday.