TODAY

TODAY   |  March 13, 2014

Young Catholics embrace ‘Francis Effect’

In one year, Pope Francis has changed the conversation about the Catholic Church. Chicago’s Loyola University students talk about the pope’s impact with NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> pope francis was elected the leader of the world's catholics. a wall street journal poll states they believe the pope has strengthened their faith and the catholic church .

>> all you have to do is listen. in one short year pope francis has changed the conversation about the catholic church . at loyola university , chicago, they talk about him in theology and business classes.

>> what did your marketing class think of pope francis brand management ?

>> thinks it's great. they all agreed that the pope certainly is changing the image of the church.

>> he gets high marks from these student faith leaders who think of francis as one of theirs because the pope from argentina is a jesuit, like the priest who runs their school.

>> reporter: he does a very good job representing our generation or the community i have here a loyola.

>> in our generation people can identify with him because he just talks about how to love each other.

>> jorge was one of 3 million people on rio's beaches for the pope's mass.

>> reporter: he gets down to the people and just talks to them where it's normal, not look up to the visionary stuff.

>> a message he delivers in his italian or his native spanish.

>> reporter: to be able to hear and speak spanish and for my mom to understand it and my family to understand it, it's just so important to me.

>> being a gay catholic, what he says about gays and lesbians , it's not changes what the catholic church has to say but it is changing the voice of how it is said.

>> they love that this pope prefers the bus to the limo, carries his own brief case, will stop for a selfie and laughs at himself. he is, they say, just like us. do you like the fact that he doesn't like the bling?

>> reporter: i love it.

>> the red shoes are a little much.

>> you like the brown ones better?

>> reporter: yeah.

>> i think that the voice of the pope is a really great voice, but i think it's -- i mean, the church is us. he's just like us.

>> now these young changes don't expect change on issues such as gay rights , contraception and abortion but they like that's not all the pope talks about, they love his emphasis on the poor and helping your neighbor. matt?

>> reporter: