There was a frenzy of the faithful with cell phones along 5th Avenue in New York Thursday, as thousands lining the motorcade route strained to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis as he made his way to St. Patrick's Cathedral.
"I cannot wait, just to see him for seconds," said Mauricio Castro of Peru. "I don't care if he doesn't see me, I just want to see him."
Castro, one of the majority of Latin Americans in the crowd, sees Pope Francis as different from any pope in Catholic Church history.
"He's changing, he's modern, he's using technology," he said. "He's an awesome guy."
Only people with tickets were allowed to cross tight security barriers to stand outside the cathedral. Everyone else stood blocks away.
"It's very was well worth it, just to be here," said Lavena Richards, who caught a mere glimpse of the pope. "100 percent."
Richards says it's the pope's love and compassion that people are drawn to.
"You feel love coming from him," she said. "People are drawn to him. You can see it by this crowd, everywhere he goes. It's not just because he's the pope. There's a love about him that pulls people together - of all faiths."
"We've heard him compared to rock star several times over the last week," said Boston College professor Tiziana Dearing. "But there's a layer underneath the community that you see when people come to see a moral leader that you don’t necessarily see when people come to be entertained. So people are engaging with each other, they're sharing the best of themselves, there's an underlying sense of hope and joy."