I am ridiculously excited about the pope visiting the US, almost to the point of Royal baby watching days of yore. I don't live in an area Pope Francis will visit, and while I am a lifelong Catholic, I don't agree with half the stuff he says.
Love him, hate him, or feel indifferent about him, he is kind of like a superstar. Everyone knows who he is. If they can't recognize him as a man, they can certainly recognize him by how he dresses. He is the leader of the oldest church (or so I am told by my priest). And, Pope Francis is cool.
He reminds me of Pope John Paul II. He was instrumental in bringing change to the Catholic church with the Vatican II, but he also brought something else....public interest. Like Pope Francis, Pope John Paul II had an air to him, a charisma, that people liked. It made people like the church.
The Catholic church has been losing numbers in droves as new generations lose faith in organized religion and scandal marks the church. Pope Francis breathes new life into the church. Nothing major has changed (there still aren't women priests and that contraception thing continues to be ignored by most of the people attending mass), but the perception has. Pope Francis is likable, and the twitter hashtags and emojis make him feel current.
Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis prove that it isn't so much the message you bring, but the feeling people have with your presence/message. If you bring a feeling of hope, you may be elected president. If you bring a feeling of love and liberation from rigid practices and evil secrets of the past, people may like you as a pope.
I hope he enjoys his stay in the US. I will be following on Twitter.