Political and religious leaders from around the world, including Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, are attending the Mass in St Peter's Square, marking the official start of his papacy.
While Mugabe has an EU travel ban over human rights abuses in his country, it does not apply to the Vatican.
Francis was a surprise choice as a conclave of cardinals last week elected him to take over from Benedict XVI, who became the first pontiff in 600 years to abdicate last month.
Pope Francis has suggested he will take a more modest approach than predecessors.
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