(ROME) — Is Pope Francis determined to become the low-profile pontiff?
On his first full day of assuming duties as leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, the new pope seemed to eschew the media spotlight in Rome by leaving through a side door of a basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary after 30 minutes of private prayers.
The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio also returned to the priests’ residence on Thursday, where he and other cardinals stayed before the conclave, to fetch his suitcases and pay his bill.
Francis’ life has been dedicated to humility as those who know him well have revealed and it was clearly on display immediately following his election Wednesday to replace Benedict XVI when he greeted cardinals while standing instead of taking the throne where new popes traditionally sit for the ceremony.
At one point, the pope also passed up a trip by the papal limousine to the cardinals’ residence, preferring to take the bus instead with those who made him pontiff.
Francis, an Argentine who became the first non-European pope since the eighth century, will be formally inaugurated next Tuesday.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Euan McKirdy and Natalie L. Gallón, CNN