UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Here it comes, let us listen, let us watch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Italian).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): From Argentina.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The first Jesuit pope.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): That is really something.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): We're really breaking ground here, these cardinals, someone from Latin America who's a Jesuit. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): He's taking the name St. Francis for the first time, which is clearly a signal that he wants to show a different face of the church, face of the poor.
STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): His first words were casual, conversational.
POPE FRANCIS: Buona sera.
STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): The first sign of a new day at the Vatican.
FRANCIS (through translator): I would like to give a blessing, but first, do me a favor --
STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): That favor: a pope asking the people to pray for him.
COKIE ROBERTS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It was an incredible moment, because we all had our list of papabile (ph), the people who were likely to be pope. And he wasn't on any of them.
Suddenly here's this Argentinean who was really of a completely different mold. And it signaled that the College of Cardinals had come to a decision that they really wanted a different kind of pope.
STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): With that first humble greeting, Pope Francis captured hearts. Down in the crowds, reaching out to those most in need, living simply. He's leading by example and enlivening his church.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's working very honestly and simply to transmit his humility to the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's very true to what the church stands for, but I think he's much more in touch with the fact that, yes, you have to take the message out to people and actually live it.
STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Less than a year after the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis has shifted focus from the scandals of the past to a future centered on the poor.
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN: We have not had a good run of late. And what I have tried to say, George, is this pope has successfully, finally shattered the caricature of the church that his predecessors have tried hard to do.
What's that caricature? That the church is kind of mean and dour and always saying no and always telling us what we can't do and always telling us why we should be excluded. He's saying, no, come on in, the church is about warmth and tenderness.
STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): In an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 92 percent of American Catholics think well of the pope. And 85 percent think he's moving the church in the right direction.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York sees the Francis effect first- hand.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you all really have seen the kind of impact this man would have?
DOLAN: No. I think nothing that he's does has surprised us. But what surprised us is that he's done it even more effectively than we thought. What we were after was a good pastor with a track record of solid administration but fatherly warm, tender care for the sheep, for his people. And, boy, we got that on steroids with Pope Francis. He's the world's parish priest.
STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Drawing in the young with a sense of humor and laid-back style, on his travels, Pope Francis is a rock star, speaking out in new ways.
FRANCIS: In the worlds of politics, business, art and social media.