NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In a world often dominated by tales of power, wealth and ego, what is it that drives interest in Pope Francis?

“This pope has made humility his hallmark, and it’s a great calling card, especially if you’re a pope because the world has not been used to seeing a pope act in such humble ways, whether it’s paying his own bill or taking the bus,” John Thavis, author of “The Vatican Diaries,” told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb. “And I think we’re going to see this again close up during his U.S. trip.”

Thavis noted that on almost every trip Francis has made he has stopped to visit the homeless, prisoners or those being cared for at health centers — “in other words, the voiceless.”

The pope will visit New York City later this month. He will arrive at JFK Airport on Sept. 24 and attend evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The next day, he will address the United Nations General Assembly, host an interfaith service at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, visit a school in East Harlem, take a motorcade through Central Park and celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden.

He will also visit Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

Francis’ humility has been in evidence from the first moments of his papacy when he bowed and asked the great throng in St. Peter’s Square to bless him.

Religion News Service reporter David Gibson reminds people that Francis is a Jesuit.

“If you and I know anything about the Catholic Church, you know anything about Jesuits, this is how their brains are programmed,” Gibson said. “It’s how their souls are rewired — to be humble, to be self-effacing.”

John L. Allen Jr., author of “The Francis Miracle,” said what’s striking is the pope’s “regular guy aspect.”

“When we travel with him on the papal plane, for example, when he comes back to do these meet-and-greets with the press corps, it’s like interacting with your neighborhood pastor,” Allen said. “He wants to know how your mom is and how your kids are doing. And he’s genuinely interested. There’s nothing faux or artificial about it.”

Allen labels Francis “the world’s parish priest.”

Volunteers Lining Up In Philly

When the pope visits Philadelphia, he will attend the World Meeting of Families.

Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families, is in charge of finding 10,000 volunteers as well as host families to put up some of the 1.5 million people heading to the City of Brotherly Love to see Francis.

“Overall … this is so exciting,” Farrell told WCBS 880’s Pat Carroll. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not just for me, but for the dozens and dozens and dozens of people working on this.”

Farrell said her organization is close to meeting its goal for volunteers and added that several thousand families in the region have signed up to host pilgrams, including some who are not Catholic.

“From the beginning, the No. 1 question that we’ve been asked in our office is ‘how can I help?'” she said.

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