Pope Francis is going back to South America. The Holy Father's first international trip will take him to Brazil, where he will be received by more than 1 million expected attendees to the Youth World Day 2013.
As the Pope left Rome on Sunday, photos of the Pontifice walking up to the plane went viral -- in an unprecedented move, Francis was carrying his own bag, a gesture never seen on a previous Pope. Catholics the world over praised Francis for his modesty, which furthers his image as a down-to-earth, approachable "Pope of the people."
"Francis has captivated me; he's absolutely won me over," said Rafaela Bastos, a 23-year-old Brazilian pilgrim, to the Denver Post. "He's brought the church close to the people and especially to young Catholics. He's creative, he's modern, he's not changing doctrine, but he seems far more flexible and open to discussion."
The media is following Francis' every step in Brazil, the world's biggest Catholic community. It is expected that he will show a much gentler touch than former Pope Benedict, who visited Brazil in 2007.
The Holy Father will arrive to a restless Brazil, after two months of on-and-off social protests demanding the government improve social benefits. Nevertheless, authorities assured safety for the days of the Pope's visit.