Pope Francis woos crowd with his spontaneity

In his first Sunday window appearance, Pope Francis talked about God`s power to forgive and refrained from reading from a written speech.

Last Updated: Mar 17, 2013, 20:54 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Vatican City: In his first Sunday window appearance of his papacy, Pope Francis talked about God`s power to forgive and refrained from reading from a written speech.

The newly elected Pope delighted a crowd of more than 150,000 in St. Peter`s Square with his humour. The crowd too drawing cheered him on amidst laughter.

The Pope spoke in Italian, Hr began with ‘buon giorno’ (Good day) and ending with ‘buon pranzo’ (Have a good lunch). He desisted from greeting the crowd in several languages.

He also issued his first tweet after performing his first Angelus prayer, with the message - "Pray for me".

"Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and ask you to continue to pray for me," the Pope tweeted from the @Pontifex account.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said it was likely Francis, at least for the moment, given the off-the-cuff style, was sticking with Italian, a language he`s comfortable with. Lombardi left open the possibility that other languages would be used in the appearances with the public in the future.

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

Earlier 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, Feb. 24. Four days later, Benedict went into retirement, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years.

The crowd was cheering wildly when the white curtain at the window of his apartment was parted, and Francis appeared, but fell into rapt silence when he began to speak. Some people`s eyes welled up. Many people waving the blue-and-white flags of Argentine, the homeland of the world`s first Latin American pope. Some people help their children aloft or on their shoulders to get a better look.

With Agency inputs