Nightly News   |  March 18, 2013

Huge crowds expected for Pope Francis’ inauguration

Catholics have quickly embraced the humble pontiff, whose different style enabled a spur of the moment decision to step into the crowd after Sunday mass and shake peoples’ hands. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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>>> now to the vatican where they're hours away from the pope's inaugural mass. and the more american catholic sea of pope francis, a number of them are remarking it's been years since the pope has been this tactile, this. ann is at the vatican .

>> reporter: good evening, brian. as many as 1 million people are expected to come to the pope's inaugural mass tomorrow morning . the crowds are expected to be huge, in part because catholics have really taken to heart this humble and spontaneous man. as you said, it's been years since catholics have seen a pope work a crowd like he did after sunday mass. it certainly gave his security detail headaches as he went into the crowd and shook hands and kissed little kids and blessed them. but it's these spur of the moment decisions that make tomorrow's event a must-see event in rome. today pope francis met with the head of state and also argentine president cristina kirchner . she brought him gifts and a request that he intercede with great britain over the falkland islands . the pope has many programs that kir kirchner endorsed. tonight at the meeting, there were no visible signs of any such harsh words. brian?

>> ann thompson at the vatican where she'll continue to cover it all for us. and thanks. we wanted to let you know special coverage of the pope's installation will be on the air tomorrow morning on "today," matt lauer heading up "today" show coverage at the vatican .