In pictures: Pope Francis' first public appearance in Vatican

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Informal, spontaneous style continues to delight the crowds

Breaking with tradition, Pope Francis delivered off-the-cuff remarks about God's power to forgive instead of reading from a written speech for the first Sunday window appearance of his papacy.

He also spoke only in Italian - beginning with "buon giorno" (Good day) and ending with "buon pranzo" (Have a good lunch) - instead of greeting the faithful in several languages as his last few predecessors had done.

Click here to launch the picture gallery

His comments and humour delighted a crowd of more than 150,000 in St Peter's Square, drawing cheers and laughter.

In just five days, Francis' straightforward, spontaneous style has become an immediate hallmark of his papacy.

Earlier on Sunday, he made an impromptu appearance before the public from a side gate of the Vatican, startling passers-by and prompting cheers, before delivering a six minute homily - brief by church standards - at the Vatican's tiny parish church.

Before he entered St Anna's church to celebrate Mass, he heartily shook hands with parishioners and kissed babies.

After Mass, Francis put his security detail to the test as he waded into the street just outside St Anna's Gate.

As the traffic light at the intersection turned green, Francis stepped up to the crowd, grasping outstretched hands. The atmosphere was so casual that several people even gripped Francis on the shoulder.

A few minutes later as the traffic light turned red, Francis ducked back inside the Vatican's boundaries to dash upstairs for the window appearance from the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace.

The studio window was opened for the first time since Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, gave his last window blessing on Sunday, February 24.

Four days later, Benedict went into retirement, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years.

Francis, the first pope from Latin America, was elected on March 13. He has been staying in a hotel on the Vatican's premises until the papal apartment in the palace is ready.

Hundreds of extra traffic police were deployed on Sunday morning to control crowds and vehicles, for it was also the day of Rome's annual marathon.

Bus routes were rerouted and many streets were closed off in an attempt to channel the curious and faithful up the main boulevard from the Tiber river to St Peter's square.

Giant video screens were set up so the huge crowd could get a close-up look at Francis and dozens of medical teams were on hand for any emergencies.

After the Mass, the pope stepped out jauntily from St. Anna's Church and waved to a crowd of hundreds kept behind barriers across the street, and then greeted the Vatican parishioners one by one.

One young man patted the pope on the back - an indication of the informality that has been evident from the first moment of his papacy.

"Francesco! Francesco!" children shouted his name in Italian from the street.

As he patted one little boy on the head, he asked: "Are you a good boy?" and the child nodded.

"Are you sure?" the pope quipped.

In his homily, Francis said the core message of God is "that of mercy". He said God has an unfathomable capacity to pardon and noted that people are often harder on each other than God is toward sinners.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head