A Humble, Humorous, Prayerful Pope’s First Day on the Job

Though Pope Francis chose his name because of the beloved and humble St. Francis of Assisi, he’s already got something in common with another Francis: namely, Francis Albert Sinatra, who famously sang the song, “My Way.”

As John Thavis reports, the new Pope is already doing things “his way” in the best sense of the term. Actually, it’s more accurate to say he’s doing things Jesus’ way: humbly, selflessly and with a touch of humor. In other words, a great role model for how we all should live.

Here’s an excerpt from Thavis’ report:

After his blessing last night to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square and to the world, Vatican aides told the pope a limousine was waiting to take him to his temporary quarters in the Vatican’s residence building. The new pope said he’d rather take the bus back with the cardinals – and he did.

This morning, the pope’s first act was to leave the Vatican for an impromptu visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in central Rome….

…On the way inside the basilica, he stopped to wave to high school students across the street. After praying before a popular icon of Mary, he told confessors at the church to “be merciful, the souls of the faithful need your mercy.”

Then he stopped personally at a clerical guest house where he had been staying in recent days, a few steps from Piazza Navona, to pick up his suitcases and “pay his bill,” as he told cardinals the night before. One can presume his Vatican handlers offered to send someone else on this humdrum task, but Pope Francis did it his way.

Read the whole thing here.

And on the “Today” show, Cardinal Dolan noted some other unique qualities about Pope Francis:

Later, at dinner, the new pope prompted laughter by responding to their toast with the remark: “May god forgive you for what you have done.”

Those observations were echoed by New York’s Cardinal Tim Dolan, who told TODAY’s Matt Lauer there were “real differences” between Francis and previous popes.

“When he was pointed toward the [raised] chair and told that was where he was to sit, he said, ‘No, I’m going to stand down here’ and greeted each of us as brothers, literally on the same level where we were.”

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