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Pope Francis pays his hotel bill, avoids pomp and visits chapel revered by Jesuits


(Vatican Radio) The humility and spontaneity of the new Pope along with his deep Jesuit spirituality were revealed at Thursday’s briefing held by the Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi.
Listen to the following report by Susy Hodges: RealAudioMP3
Father Lombardi told the journalists that after his election in the Sistine Chapel, Pope Francis didn’t sit on the special throne chair to receive the oath of obedience and homage from his brother cardinals but stood instead. When it came to his attire, Francis wore a simple white cassock with no red “mozzetta” (cape) and also chose to wear his own simple pectoral cross. Father Lombardi also made clear that the new Pope should be known as Francis, not Francis the First, given that he is the first Pope to choose this name in honour of St Francis of Assisi.

The Director of the Holy See’s press office also revealed another incident that made clear Pope Francis’s desire to avoid pomp when it came to the ride back to the Santa Marta Hotel after his election. He said a “special papal limousine” with the number plates SCV I had been prepared for the new Pope but he declined to ride in it back to the hotel, saying he preferred to go back in the bus along with all the other cardinals.
Later, Father Lombardi said Pope Francis and the other cardinals had a very “festive and joyful dinner together. He added that the Holy Father briefly thanked the cardinals during the meal and jokingly said: “May God forgive you for what you have done!”

Father Lombardi also gave further details of Pope Francis’s surprise early morning visit to the Marian basilica of St. Mary Major where he prayed at the Chapel where the founder of the Jesuit order Saint Ignatius di Loyola celebrated his first mass on the night of Christmas. The Basilica also houses the relics of some of the manger that held the baby Jesus.
Father Lombardi also revealed how following his visit to St. Mary Major, Pope Francis went to the Casa del Clero in Rome’s Via Della Scrofa, (a guest house for priests) where he had been staying before the start of the conclave and collected his luggage and paid the bill for his room, saying he wanted “to give a good example to others.”
The New Pope, Father Lombardi continued, will also be going to the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace to break the seals in order that the planned renovations can begin as quickly as possible. In the meantime, the new Pope will be staying at the papal apartment in the Santa Marta.
He said Pope Francis had spoken by telephone to Benedict XVI after his election but there are no immediate plans for the two men to meet in person.

Pope Francis’s engagements during the next week are:
Friday the 15th at 11am: a meeting with all the cardinals, not just the cardinal-electors in the Vatican's Sala Clementina.
Saturday the 16th at 11am: an audience with all the representatives of the media accredited to the Holy See in the Paul the 6th Hall. No special tickets required.
Sunday the 17th at 12 noon: His first Angelus prayer and blessing from the window of the papal study.
Tuesday the 19th at 9.30 am: Papal Inauguration Mass in St. Peter’s Square. No special tickets required.
Wednesday the 20th: There will be NO Wednesday general audience for the Pope. Instead he will receive members of delegations from other Christian denominations who attended the inauguration mass.