Nightly News   |  December 01, 2013

Is Pope Francis revitalizing Catholic congregants?

Pope Francis’ appeal is winning back some disaffected Catholics . Is his vision bringing hope to those who felt left behind?

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>>> this is the beginning of advent when many christians prepare for the season of christmas. it is bringing added excitement for many catholics as they get set for the new energy and spirit of pope francis . we get the story from rome.

>> reporter: sunday in st. peters square. the count down to christmas has begun but to the thousands of pilgrims, the biggest present came today, just seeing pope francis .

>> this is my last day here. i'm going out with a blessing from the pope. unbelievable.

>> reporter: saturday night, this parish in new york city was also packed with faithful. some call it the francis effect.

>> pope francis is bringing back a whole new crowd of catholics .

>> he is bringing hope to the women of the church and to those left behind. families have come back. but also, a lot of single people have come back.

>> reporter: in the united states , a recent poll found that 79% of catholics and 58% of the general public rated him favorably.

>> they find him very warm, down to earth. young and old alike seem to cotton to this guy.

>> reporter: to many, a real catholic super hero . even featured in a book. it was published in this booklet, an easy to read guide of his bold vision of the future . this is pope francis ' manifesto. in the book, he talks about capitalism and decentralizing power away from the vatican.

>> what it would do is return to an original motto of the church where the pope with all the other bishops around the world, govern the church together. if he can do that, it would be the biggest change in a thousand years.

>> reporter: ad vent sunday marks the way for christ's nativity. with a pope like francis , catholics the world over are celebrating the rebirth of the catholic church as a whole. nbc news, rome.