Pope Francis celebrates mass, delivers 1st homily


Vatican watchers noted some very distinct differences with Pope Francis. His homily was not elaborate and dense like Pope Benedict's, and he delivered it the cuff.

Italy and the world are abuzz with the new pope from the new world. Some papers were surprised by the choice, while another compared him to John Paul II.

Earlier Thursday morning, Pope Francis made a visit to the Marian Chapel inside the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome to pray before the famous icon of the Virgin Mary, called "Protectress of the Roman People." The first 24 hours of his papacy is a whirlwind of demands, from greeting the masses to carrying out administrative duties. He finished praying after about 30 minutes.

See the moment white smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel chimney

Pope Francis went back to his hotel to pick up the luggage he left there, paid his bill in person and took time to thank the staff.

The new pope is expected to energize the Catholic Church at the very roots of the worldwide organization where the church is growing most, the Southern Hemisphere. Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles expects a greater focus on evangelism, spreading the Word from home to home, neighborhood to neighborhood.

"The small communities of gathering parishioners not only together in large numbers but in small neighborhood communities, all of those things started in the Southern Hemisphere, and they are all over Asia, Latin America and Africa," Mahony said.

On Friday, he will receive and greet all the cardinals, not just the electors. Then on Saturday, the new pope will meet with journalists. The Vatican says sometime over the next few days, the pope will sit down with his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Francis will be formally installed on Tuesday.

Watch Pope Francis' first speech to the faithful on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica

The former cardinal from Argentina is a pope of many firsts: the first non-European pope of the modern era, the first from Latin America, the first Jesuit and the first to assume the name Francis.

He made another kind of history by breaking with tradition in his first public act Wednesday. Rather than bless the crowd first, he asked them to pray for him.

Catholics say this humble gesture speaks volumes about the new pope's character. The name "Francis" represents change and rebuilding, something many Catholics believe the church needs now more than ever.

Meantime, Cardinal Timothy Dolan from New York appeared on "Good Morning America" and talked about what went on behind the closed doors of the conclave. Dolan says as the votes were tallied, and the cardinals could see the direction the Holy Spirit was moving, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's demeanor changed before their very eyes.

"But still, the moment he got to the number needed, 77, was wonderfully inspirational. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house," said Dolan. "What moved me was how the whole natured identity of Jorge Bergoglio changed and was transformed into Pope Francis. He was a man that was just a couple of hours before we were pouring coffee with ... and all of a sudden he's our Holy Father."

Mahony also took part in the selection of the new pope. Eyewitness News spoke with him in Rome about the significance of a South American pope and the criticism he faced from those who didn't want him at the conclave.

Mahony said he had to take part in the conclave because he had been asked to go and he wanted to give Southern California a voice in the process.

Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.