Mar 14, 2013 / 6:24 am
Pope Francis put his humility on display during his first day as pontiff Thursday, stopping by his hotel to pick up his luggage and pay the bill himself in a decidedly different style for the papacy usually ensconced inside the frescoed halls of the Vatican.
The break from the tradition-minded previous pontificate was evident even in Francis' wardrobe choices: He kept the simple pectoral cross of his days as bishop and eschewed the red cape that Benedict XVI wore when he was presented to the world for the first time in 2005, choosing instead the simple white cassock of the papacy.
The former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, began his first day as pope making an early morning visit in a simple Vatican car to a Roman basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary and prayed before an icon of the Madonna.
He had told a crowd of some 100,000 people packed in rain-soaked St. Peter's Square just after his election that he intended to pray to the Madonna "that she may watch over all of Rome."
He also told cardinals he would call on retired Pope Benedict XVI, but the Vatican said the visit wouldn't take place for a few days.
The main item on Francis' agenda Thursday was an inaugural afternoon Mass in the Sistine Chapel, where cardinals on Wednesday elected him leader of the 1.2 billion-strong church in an unusually quick conclave.
Francis might be expected to outline some of his priorities as pope in the homily. It was expected to be delivered in Italian, again another break from the traditional-minded Benedict whose first homily as pope was in Latin.
Francis, the first Jesuit pope and first non-European since the Middle Ages, decided to call himself Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, the humble friar who dedicated his life to helping the poor.
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