VATICAN CITY (March 17, 2013)--On his first Sunday as pontiff, Pope Francis startled crowds on the streets around the Vatican when he walked out a side gate to shake hands.
He then celebrated Mass at the Vatican's tiny parish church St. Anna's, delivering a relatively brief six minute homily.
After Mass, Francis again put his security detail to the test, heading into the street just outside St. Anna's Gate and stepping up to the crowd to grasp outstretched hands.
The atmosphere was so casual that several people even gripped Francis on the shoulder.
Later, the new pope delighted a crowd of more than 100,000 in St. Peter's Square when he delivered off-the-cuff remarks about God's power to forgive instead of reading from a written speech during the first Sunday window appearance of his papacy.
He also spoke only in Italian, instead of in several languages as his last few predecessors had done, telling the faithful "have a good lunch" at the end of his remarks.