In pictures: Pope Francis' first public appearance in Vatican
Informal, spontaneous style continues to delight the crowds
Sunday 17 March 2013
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.
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.
- 1 Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 4 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
- 5 Doctors declare war on Jeremy Hunt over weekend working 'myths' amid plan for seven day NHS
Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
Jack the Ripper's final victim set to be exhumed following new theory on the killer's identity
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen mocked for wearing a burka to avoid being seen visiting plastic surgeon in Paris
Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...