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Rome, Apr 7 (EFE).- Pope Francis was installed Sunday as the bishop of Rome in the packed Basilica of St. John in Lateran, the Italian capital's cathedral, in a ceremony preceded by the dedication of a portion of the large square outside the church to Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005.
It has been less than a month since his election as pope on March 13 and Sunday's ceremony was to allow Jorge Mario Bergoglio to formally take possession of the cathedral in his capacity as bishop of Rome, which is his other major role in addition to being head of the Catholic Church as a whole.
A pontiff is pope because he is the bishop of Rome.
The pope's vicar to the Rome diocese, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, and vicar emeritus Camillo Ruini also participated in the installation ceremony.
The pontiff carried the pastoral cross of John Paul II, which had previously belonged to Pope Paul VI, and also used the same miter and white chasuble with simple brown and gold lines that he uses in all ceremonies.
Francis was received with applause by those present at the basilica and shortly after he entered the church he approached a large group of mentally and physically disabled people to bless them and embrace a number of them individually.
Also attending the ceremony were seminarians, parish priests, canons of the basilica and other religious officials, as well as many Catholic faithful.