As the pope prepares to meet tens of thousands of young people from across the globe for World Youth Day this week, he attempted to connect with them on a platform they would easily understand: the internet.
During the weekly Angelus prayer at the Vatican Sunday, Pope Francis launched his own user profile on Click to Pray, the official app of the Vatican's Worldwide Prayer Network.
"Internet and the social networks are a resource of our time, a way to stay in touch with others, to share values and projects, and to express the desire to form a community," the pope told those gathered in St. Peter's Square.
With the help of an aide holding a tablet, the pope swiped the screen saying, "Here, I will put in ... requests for prayers for the Church's mission."
For example, he said, the app will let young people join him in prayer for the "two sorrows" in his heart this week: the 170 migrants who drowned in recent days in the Mediterranean Sea and the victims of a terrorist attack in Colombia this week that killed 21 people.
"I especially invite young people to download the Click To Pray app, continuing to pray with me the Rosary for peace, especially during the World Youth Day in Panama," the pontiff said.
He also asked all Catholics to pray for the youth event, which takes place Jan. 22-27.
World Youth Day was started by Pope John Paul II in 1985. It is held in different cities around the world every two to three years. This will be Francis' third World Youth Day.