Francis prays at Rome basilica in 1st outing

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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013 12:00 am

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis opened his first morning as pontiff by praying Thursday at Rome's main basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary, a day after cardinals elected him the first pope from the Americas in a bid to revive a Catholic Church in crisis and give it a preacher with a humble touch.

The former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, entered the St. Mary Major basilica through a side entrance just after 8 a.m. and left about 30 minutes later. He had told a crowd of some 100,000 people packed in rain-soaked St. Peter's Square just after his election that he intended to pray Friday to the Madonna “that she may watch over all of Rome.”

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