Canyon, TX - The Catholic Student Center at West Texas A&M said it is seeing a surge in participation in its campus ministries because of Pope Francis.
Catholics world-wide are calling it "the Pope Francis effect" and local Catholics and non-Catholics are catching on.
Catholic officials said Pope Francis's hands on approach with the public and his outreach and acceptance of people despite their background is attracting a new generation of believers.
"I think you're beginning to see a return to the faith by a lot of people because they're realizing if this is the message of the leader, then maybe I won't be judged as well," said Reverend Daniel Dreher, director of campus ministries at West Texas A&M.
Reverend Dreher said students see the Pope on TV actually doing what he preaches and want to take a more active approach in their lives as well. This means more people coming to Mass each Sunday and getting involved in other campus ministries.
"I've just noticed an increase with the young adults here at the Catholic Student Center just in participation and the excitement that they have for the Catholic church and for learning about our faith," said West Texas A&M student Devon Kemp. "I think Pope Francis has just been a great role model."
Another West Texas student agreed. "I think it's a great thing that's happening, especially because he's getting involved with the young adults," said student Amber Sosa. "Just by him tweeting everyday and people seeing that in the social media, and him being involved with us and really caring about us and what we have to say has a great impact on everyone around."
Reverend Dreher said more and more non-catholic students are coming to him for advice and asking how they can get involved with Catholic campus ministries as well.