Pope tells faithful to be 'young at heart'
Pope Francis has celebrated his first Palm Sunday Mass in St Peter's Square, encouraging people to be humble and young at heart and promising to go to a youth jamboree in Brazil in July, while the faithful enthusiastically waved olive branches and braided palm fronds.
The square overflowed with a crowd estimated at 250,000 people.
The first Pope from Latin America – who held a meeting with his predecessor Benedict at the weekend – broke away several times from the text of his prepared homily to encourage the faithful to lead simple lives and resist the temptation to be sad when life's obstacles inevitably come their way.
"Don't let yourselves be robbed of hope," Francis told the crowd.
At the end of the two-hour Mass, Francis took off his red vestments, and wearing his plain white cassock and skull cap, climbed into an open-topped popemobile to circle through the excited crowd.
He leaned out to shake hands, kissed and patted the heads of infants passed to him by bodyguards.