Pope Francis greeted hundreds of thousands of people in St. Peter's square on Tuesday (March 19th) as he drove on his popemobile, for the first time, through the cheering crowds.

Flags from all over the world were visible in the square as people clapped and cheered as the pope drove by.

The pope stopped briefly to kiss and bless a small child handed up to him by one of his security staff. He then got off the popemobile to bless a handicapped man sitting close to the barricade along the route.

A huge crowd was gathered in St. Peter's square to watch the inaugural mass for the pontiff, the biggest in Rome since more than 1.5 million people came to the city for the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II on May 1, 2011.

The Mass, which was due to start at 9:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) will formally install Francis as the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

Presented by Adam Justice