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Pope Francis leads his first major service at the Vatican

Pope Francis kisses a child after a Mass at the Vatican's St. Peter's Square as part of the Palm Sunday celebration on March 24.
Pope Francis kisses a child after a Mass at the Vatican's St. Peter's Square as part of the Palm Sunday celebration on March 24.Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images

By F. Brinley Bruton and Claudio Lavanga, NBC News

Pope Francis on Sunday led his first major service since his election, calling on the crowd to shun corruption and reach out to "the humble, the poor, the forgotten."

"Let us look around: How many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation," he said.

The new pope invoked the wisdom of his grandmother and used simple language at the Palm Sunday service, which marks the start of the Holy Week of Easter in celebration of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Pope Francis departed from his prepared text, and when he referred to wealth, said: "You can't take it with you, my grandmother used to say."

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People carry palm fronds as they arrive in St. Peter's Square.Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images
Pope Francis uses an aspergillum to sprinkle holy water as a blessing.Max Rossi / Reuters
The faithful gather in St. Peter's Square for Pope Francis' Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican.Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters