The new shepherd of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics picked up his luggage at a Vatican hotel, thanked each member of the staff and even paid his own bill.
Then, at his first Mass, he delivered a short, unscripted homily - in Italian, not the Latin of his predecessor - holding the cardinals who elected him responsible for keeping the church strong.
Pope Francis, pontiff for barely 12 hours, brushed off years of tradition and formality with a remarkable break in style that sent a clear message that his papacy is poised to reject many of the trappings enjoyed by now-retired Benedict XVI.
For years, as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentine pastor took the bus to work, kissed the feet of Aids patients and prayed with former prostitutes, eschewing the luxurious residence that would have been his due as archbishop of Buenos Aires. But now he is pope - the first from the New World and the first Jesuit - and his style both personal and liturgical is in a global spotlight.
On his first day, he could not have signalled a greater contrast to Benedict, the German academic who was meek and generous in person, but formal and traditional in public.
The differences played out in the Sistine Chapel as Francis, 76, celebrated his first public Mass as pope.
Whereas Benedict read a three-page discourse in Latin, Francis had a far simpler message. Speaking off-the-cuff for 10 minutes in easy Italian, he said all Catholics must "build" the church and "walk" with the faith.
He urged priests to build their churches on solid foundations, warning: "What happens when children build sand castles on the beach? It all comes down. If we don't proclaim Jesus, we become a pitiful NGO (non-governmental organisation), not the bride of the Lord," he said.
"When we walk without the cross, and when we preach about Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are mundane. We are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but we are not disciples of the Lord."
The new style was evident even in Francis' wardrobe. Rather than wear the new golden pectoral cross he was offered after his election on Wednesday, he kept the simple crucifix of his days as bishop.