Mar 19 2013
Pope Francis has been praised for his warm relations with other faiths, ahead of the papal installation ceremony.
In all, 33 Christian delegations will be present, as well as representatives of Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain communities.
As many as one million people are expected to be in Rome for the installation Mass in St Peter's Square.
The election of Pope Francis has thrilled Jewish leaders in Argentina, who predict he will continue to foster warm relations between Catholicism and other faiths during his pontificate. They have seen it first-hand as recently as December, when then-Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio lit the first candle on the menorah at Temple NCI-Emanu El during a Hanukkah ceremony.
Rabbi Alejandro Avruj said: "He's got a very deep capacity for dialogue with other religions. He spoke of light as renovation, of the re-inauguration of the temple of Jerusalem 2,200 years ago, and the need to carry light to the world."
As the ceremony draws dozens of Jewish, Orthodox and other Christian leaders to the Vatican, those who knew him in his previous role say he considered healing divisions between religions a major part of the Catholic Church's mission.
He brought leaders of the Jewish, Muslim, evangelical and Orthodox Christian faiths into the Metropolitan Cathedral to pray for peace in the Middle East last November.
The Vatican released details of the Mass, saying it would be a simplified version of the 2005 installation Mass that brought Pope Benedict XVI to the papacy, with many gestures to Eastern rite Catholics and Orthodox Christians in a sign of church unity.
The Vatican also released details of Francis' coat of arms and official ring, both of which are in keeping with his simple style and harking back to popes past. Francis will officially receive the ring and the pallium, a wool stole, during the installation Mass, which is drawing six sovereign rulers, 31 heads of state, three princes and 11 heads of government to the Vatican.
More than 132 government delegations are descending on Rome for the Mass formally installing Francis as the 266th leader of the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church.