Part of that is being active on Twitter. The pope has nine Twitter accounts, each in a different language. The Argentina-born pope's most popular handle is his Spanish one @Pontifex_es, which claims 9.8 million followers.
In total, 23.41 million people follow Francis' accounts. That is only a third of top Tweeter pop star Katie Perry's 75.7 million, but more than double the 11.9 million followers of the Dalai Lama.
Most of Francis' tweets focus on prayer, asking his followers if they say "thank you" to God ever day, or telling young people not to be afraid of marriage, while reminding them: "A Christian who is too attached to riches has lost his way."
He also weighs in on world events, asking via Twitter that every parish and religious community in Europe host a refugee family. And he talks about the environment, telling his followers one of the world's great challenges is to "stop ruining the garden which God has entrusted to us so that we all may enjoy it."
"He is always on character and he is doing it better than anyone I've seen doing before," said Reilly.
The pope has said repeatedly that Catholic priests need to leave their parishes and wade into the crowds, to better know their flock. Francis practices what he preaches, happily often shaking hands with the people who come to see him and repeatedly leaning in for selfies.