VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is inviting people to join him in Mass at Rome's main church, St. John in Lateran Basilica.
Pontiffs are also the bishop of Rome, and the gathering Sunday evening reminds Romans of this pastoral role.
Before entering the basilica, Francis attends a ceremony to unveil a plaque renaming St. John in Lateran Square after Pope John Paul II. The late pontiff enthusiastically embraced his role as Rome's bishop, visiting hundreds of city parishes. The vast piazza is a popular venue for free rock concerts and rallies by union leaders and politicians.
Francis issued the invite during his noon appearance and blessing from a window of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter's Square, where tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists came to cheer him.