May 27, 2013

The head of the Vatican office promoting New Evangelization said that while he does not like the terms "Francis effect" or "Francis bump," it is true that "Pope Francis has touched the hearts and minds of many people."

Speaking to reporters May 15, Archbishop Rino Fisichella said that during an early May visit to southern Italy and in conversations with priests from northern Italy where he grew up, he repeatedly heard reports that "a lot of people have been going to Confession and many have said that while they hadn't gone in a long time, they felt touched by the words of Pope Francis."

Fisichella noted that requests for tickets to the weekly general audiences held by the pope in St. Peter's Square have consistently numbered between 50,000 and 70,000, which is significantly higher than in the past.