Latin American youths converge on Rio, drawn to a pope with a common touch

Thousands of young Catholics are traveling to Rio de Janeiro to see Pope Francis, taking long bus trips or expensive plane flights paid for with bake sales, raffles and fundraisers in public plazas.

Thanks to donations, the 30,000 Argentine pilgrims include hundreds from so-called "misery villages" in Buenos Aires, where Jorge Mario Bergoglio fostered close ties with kids in the slums before he became pope. They began leaving Friday, and will meet kids in a Brazilian favela to share stories about the Jesuit leader they affectionately call their "slum pope."

Many say they're excited by the changes they see in the church, and in themselves. They say Francis's first moves have renewed their faith, and that joining as many as a million other like-minded young people can only strengthen it.