Pope Francis has a busy schedule on his first day as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, a day filled with meetings, phone calls and prayer.
Pope Francis is returning to the Sistine Chapel to celebrate his first Mass with the cardinals who elected him. This morning, the 76 year old former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina went to St. Mary Major basilica. He carried flowers to the altar of the Virgin Mary, and prayed in silence for ten minutes. He also prayed at the tomb of Pius the Fifth, and greeted the church staff. Afterwards, Francis collected his bags at the hotel he stayed in before the conclave - and made it a point to pay his bill. Pope Francis, like his namesake St. Francis of Assissi, is a friend of the poor. Before he was introduced to the world, the new Holy Father chose to wear a simple robe, and the cross he wore as cardinal. Francis has already shown he is a humble man. He declined to take a special Vatican car to his celebratory dinner. He wanted to ride on the bus with the rest of the cardinals. Francis spoke on the phone with Pope Emeritus Benedict. He will visit him at the Castle Gandolfo sometime soon. Francis has been receiving guests at his temporary residence in the Santa Marta. Later today, he will remove the seals from the Papal apartment so it can be prepared for him over the next few days. The Inaugural Mass for Pope Francis takes place Tuesday in St. Peter's Square.