Pope Francis brings no-frills style to papacy

Pope Francis
Pope Francis leads a Mass on Holy Thursday March 28, 2013, at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

(CBS News) Thursday morning's Mass marked the start of Pope Francis' most intensive public period -- the Easter weekend services that are the epicenter of the church calendar.

In his first general audience Wednesday, Francis expanded his message with a call for a political solution to the civil conflict raging in the Central African Republic.

Complete coverage: Change at the Vatican

On Thursday evening, he will continue a practice that has been an Easter staple of popes for centuries, meeting prisoners in Rome's jails to celebrate Mass. Pope John Paul II even talked with the man who tried to assassinate him. When Francis was a cardinal, he washed the feet of elderly people, and on Thursday night he will set a another precedent and wash those of 12 young offenders, in emulation of Christ before the Last Supper.

It's one of a growing list of innovations by the new-style pope, including forsaking the ornate apostolic palace for a suite in the Vatican's only guest house. Room 201 at the Santa Marta residence -- where the cardinals stayed during the conclave that elected Francis -- is the most luxurious, which isn't saying much. The Vatican spokesman said Francis was "experimenting" with the living arrangement because he can be in the company of priests and meet more people. He will still give his Sunday Angelus blessing from the window of the official apartment and use it for high-level meetings.

But it's his common touch and accessibility that is proving the greatest inspiration. The first song dedicated to the new pope has just been released in Brazilian, Portuguese and Italian, titled "Come Puoi," meaning "How You Can." It may not make it to No. 1, but Francis is definitely heading for the top of the popular charts.

Watch Allen Pizzey's full report in the video above.