Pope Francis is reaching out over social media to young followers gearing up for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.

Francis posted a message on Twitter Saturday touching base with young Catholics en route to Rio and wishing them a safe journey.

Francis leaves Monday for Rio, where more than a million young Catholics are expected to celebrate their new pope.

The 76-year-old Argentine became the church's first pontiff from the Americas in March, and the trip to Brazil is his first international journey since becoming pontiff.

Catholic youth festivals are meant to reinvigorate the faithful, and Francis is expected to inspire young people with his humble ways.