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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 23 January, 2019

President Higgins and Michael Noonan to attend Pope Francis's inauguration

The President will represent Ireland, while the Finance Minister will attend on behalf of the Irish Government.

Image: Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins and Finance Minister Michael Noonan are due to travel to the Vatican on Tuesday to attend Pope Francis’s inauguration.

Áras an Uachtaráin confirmed the President’s plans to this morning. He will be Ireland’s official representative as Jorge Bergoglio is officially installed as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Noonan will attend the service on behalf of the Irish Government.

Pope Francis’s first Mass will be held at the magnificent Sistine Chapel today but before his packed schedule gets underway, he enjoyed some private prayer this morning. The 76-year-old made a surprise stop at the Santa Maria basilica for 30 minutes of reflection with a small group of cardinals.

On being elected, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, created a number of firsts. He is the first pontiff from the New World. He is the first non-European pope in centuries. He is the first Jesuit pope and the first from the Americas. He is also the first to pick the name Francis, something that has been described as smashing precedent. His namesake was a humble friar who dedicated his life to the poor.

And here are his first words.

-Additional reporting by AFP

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