Pope Francis has called for Catholics to bring “evangelisation to the ends of the earth” in an address to the cardinals in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican on Friday.
The newly-elected Pontiff, who replaced Pope Benedict as the Bishop of Rome following a series of ballots on Wednesday, also called for members of the Church not to “give in to pessimism, to that bitterness that the devil offers us every day”.
Pope Francis, the first to hail from Latin America, is expected to expand on vision for the Church on Saturday, when he will speak to thousands of journalists from around the world, assembled in Rome to cover the conclave.
The 76-year-old will be officially installed at a ceremony on Tuesday, after which he will set about appointing members of the clergy to positions responsible of running the Curia.
During Friday’s address, Francis paid tribute to his predecessor, who resigned last month due to ill health, highlighting his “faith and humility” as enrichers of the church.
Noting the dwindling numbers of churchgoers around the world, Francis told the cardinals to “find the courage to persevere”.
There was even a moment of nerves when Francis stumbled while being presented to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, but he quickly regained his footing and continued with the ceremony.
In reference to the mainly grey-haired gathering, the Pope acknowledged their age, but said this gave rise to wisdom.
"Let us give this wisdom to young people like good wine that gets better over the years," he said.
Earlier on Friday, the pontiff, who stayed at the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI hotel in Rome during the papal election, surprised hotel staff when he stopped by to pick up his luggage and settle the bill.
In Argentina, a woman claiming to be the former heart throb of the new pope says he became a priest when she spurned his advances.