Pope Francis thanks, blesses journalists

Posted at 03/16/2013 11:06 PM | Updated as of 03/16/2013 11:06 PM

VATICAN CITY – In his first audience with journalists and the media, the new Pope explained why he chose to take the name Francis after Saint Francis of Assisi.

"Saint Francis is a man of peace. And thus, in my heart came this name in honor of Francis of Assisi. For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace…Some made jokes with me, 'You should take the name of Adrian because he was a reformer.' Others said to me your name should be Clement. But why?"

It was a clear indication that he wants an austere Church, and a Church for the poor.

In his address, much of it unscripted, Francis also said Catholics should remember that Jesus is the center of the Church and not the Pope.

"Without him, the Church would not exist or have reason for being. As Benedict XVI often repeated, Christ is present, and guides his church."

Francis thanked journalists for covering recent events in the Vatican, from Benedict XVI abrupt and historic resignation to his equally historic election as new leader of the Catholic Church.

"I thank you for your dedicated service in recent days. You have worked hard."

Francis also described how was comforted by his friend, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes as it appeared the voting was going his way.

"When things became kind of dangerous for me, he consoled me…He hugged me and said to me, 'Do not forget the poor.’"

Humble pope

Formerly Buenos Aires' Archbishop, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Pope Francis is known as a simple, humble person.

On the night he became Pope, he shunned the papal limousine, traveling instead on a bus with the cardinals who had elected him.

The next day, he returned to the Church-run hotel where he had been staying before the conclave and insisted on paying the bill.