Pope Francis' first day as Pontiff

Pope Francis leads his first mass at the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Photo: Reuters

Pope Francis put his humility on display during his first day as pontiff today, stopping by his Rome hotel to pick up his luggage and pay the bill himself.

He also surprised tourists at one of Rome's great Basilicas - giving only a few moments notice before popping in for an unscheduled prayer.

It was a decidedly different style of papacy than his tradition-minded predecessor who tended to stay ensconced in the frescoed halls of the Vatican.

Newly elected Pope Francis leads a mass in the Sistine Chapel. Credit: REUTERS/Vatican CTV via Reuters TV

The break from Benedict XVI's pontificate was evident even in Francis' wardrobe choices: He kept the simple iron pectoral cross of his days as bishop and eschewed the red cape that Benedict wore when he was presented to the world for the first time in 2005 - choosing instead the simple white cassock of the papacy.

Read: Profile: Pope Francis

And in his first Mass as pope in the Sistine Chapel, Francis showed how different he would be as a pastor, giving an off-the-cuff homily about the need to walk with God, build up his church and confess - at one point referring to children building sand castles on the beach.

Europe Editor James Mates reports from Vatican City:

Celebrations were taking place in Pope Francis' home city of Buenos Aires today where he is admired for his work with the poor in the city's slums - often travelling on the bus, while a cardinal, to visit soup kitchens and talk to those who lived there.

International Editor Bill Neely reports from Argentina: