Pope poses for 'selfies' after Palm Sunday homily

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Pope poses for 'selfies' after Palm Sunday homily
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 16: Schoolboys attend Pope Francis' weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on April 16, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Today the Holy Father held his audience on the Wednesday of Holy Week or 'Spy Wednesday' as it is called in many parts of the English-speaking world. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 16: A young girl and a nun attend Pope Francis' weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on April 16, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Today the Holy Father held his audience on the Wednesday of Holy Week or 'Spy Wednesday' as it is called in many parts of the English-speaking world. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 16: Pope Francis allows two boys on his Popemobile during his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on April 16, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Today the Holy Father held his audience on the Wednesday of Holy Week or 'Spy Wednesday' as it is called in many parts of the English-speaking world. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 16: Pope Francis allows two boys on his Popemobile during his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on April 16, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Today the Holy Father held his audience on the Wednesday of Holy Week or 'Spy Wednesday' as it is called in many parts of the English-speaking world. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 16: Pope Francis kisses a child during his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on April 16, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Today the Holy Father held his audience on the Wednesday of Holy Week or 'Spy Wednesday' as it is called in many parts of the English-speaking world. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 16: Pope Francis greets the faithful during his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on April 16, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Today the Holy Father held his audience on the Wednesday of Holy Week or 'Spy Wednesday' as it is called in many parts of the English-speaking world. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis is hugged by a child at the end of a Palm Sunday service in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he hopped off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people in the crowd. In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis is hugged by a child at the end of a Palm Sunday service in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he hopped off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people in the crowd. In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
FILE - In this file photo Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 Pope Francis has his picture taken inside St. Peter's Basilica with youths from the Italian Diocese of Piacenza and Bobbio who came to Rome for a pilgrimage, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. "Selfie" the smartphone self-portrait has been declared word of the year for 2013 by Britain's Oxford University Press. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, File)
Pope Francis is cheered by a crowd of faithful at the end of a Palm Sunday service in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he hopped off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people in the crowd. In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis drinks from a mate gourd, a traditional South American cup, that was offered by faithful as the pontiff is driven through the crowd at the end of a Palm Sunday mass in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he hopped off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people in the crowd. In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Vatican police chief commander Domenico Giani, right, pours Pope Francis a drink into a mate gourd, a traditional South American cup, that was offered by faithful as the pontiff is driven through the crowd at the end of a Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he hopped off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people in the crowd. In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Vatican police chief commander Domenico Giani, right, pours Pope Francis a drink into a mate gourd, a traditional South American cup, that was offered by faithful as the pontiff is driven through the crowd at the end of a Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he hopped off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people in the crowd. In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis is hugged by a child at the end of a Palm Sunday service in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he hopped off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people in the crowd. In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis is hugged by a child at the end of a Palm Sunday service in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he hopped off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people in the crowd. In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis poses for pictures with faithful at the end of a Palm Sunday service in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he hopped off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people in the crowd. In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis is cheered by a crowd of faithful at the end of a Palm Sunday service in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he hopped off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people in the crowd. In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis poses for pictures with faithful at the end of a Palm Sunday service in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he hopped off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people in the crowd. In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis poses for pictures with faithful at the end of a Palm Sunday service in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he hopped off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people in the crowd. In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
FILE - In this file photo Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 released Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 by Miss Deborah Arcelli and taken on a mobile phone by her son Riccardo, second from left, Pope Francis has his picture taken inside St. Peter's Basilica with youths from the Italian Diocese of Piacenza and Bobbio who came to Rome for a pilgrimage, at the Vatican. "Selfie" the smartphone self-portrait has been declared word of the year for 2013 by Britain's Oxford University Press. (AP Photo/Riccardo Aguiari, File)
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VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he continued to stray from the script by hopping off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people and also sipping tea passed to him from the crowd.

In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives.

"Has my life fallen asleep?" Francis asked after listening to a Gospel account of how Jesus' disciples fell asleep shortly before he was betrayed by Judas before his crucifixion.

"Am I like Pontius Pilate, who, when he sees the situation is difficult, washes my hands?"

He sounded tired, frequently pausing to catch his breath, as he spoke for about 15 minutes in his homily during Palm Sunday Mass, which solemnly opens Holy Week for the Roman Catholic Church.

"Where is my heart?" the pope asked, pinpointing that as the "question which accompanies us" throughout Holy Week.

Francis seemed to regain his wind after the 2 ½ hour ceremony. He shed his red vestments atop his plain white cassock, chatted amiably with cardinals dressed more formally than he at that point. Then he posed for "selfies" with young people from Rio de Janeiro who had carried a large cross in the square.

He had barely climbed aboard his open-topped popemobile when he spotted Polish youths. They, too, were clamoring for a "selfie" with a pope, and he hopped off, not even waiting for the vehicle to fully stop, to oblige them. In another moment in the pope's long tour of the square, the Vatican's security chief poured herbal mate tea from a thermos, thrust toward the pontiff by someone in the crowd, into a mate cup, also held out by an admirer, and passed the cup to Francis for a sip.

In a crowd of around 100,000 Romans, tourists and pilgrims, people clutched olive tree branches, tall palm fronds or tiny braided palm leaves shaped like crosses that were blessed by Francis at the start of the ceremony.

Francis used a wooden pastoral staff carved by Italian prison inmates, who donated it to him. The pope wants to put people on the margins of life at the center of the church's attention.

Francis wore red vestments, symbolizing blood shed by the crucified Jesus.

Holy Week culminates next Sunday with Easter Mass, also in St. Peter's Square. Many faithful will remain in Rome, while others will pour into the city for the April 27 canonization of two popes, John Paul II and John XXIII. Francis noted that John Paul's long-time aide, now Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, had come to Rome.

Francis noted he'll be making a pilgrimage to South Korea this summer, with the key event being an Asian youth gathering on Aug. 15 in Daejeon.

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Follow Frances D'Emilio on twitter at www.twitter.com/fdemilio
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