Pope tells teens `happiness not an app`

AFP| Updated: Apr 24, 2016, 17:04 PM IST

Happiness is not an app you can download on your mobile phone, Pope Francis told thousands of teenagers on Sunday at a mass to mark a weekend dedicated to youth.

"Freedom is not always about doing what you want. In fact it is the gift of being able to choose the right way," he said in a homily punctuated by regular bursts of applause from the crowd on a packed St Peter`s Square.

"Your happiness has no price. It cannot be bought and sold: it is not an application you download on a mobile phone. Even the latest version cannot help you to grow and become free in love."

An estimated 70,000 teenagers were in Rome for a weekend of events to celebrate Francis`s Jubilee year dedicated to the theme of mercy.

In a surprise move on Saturday, the 79-year-old pontiff heard confessions from 16 of them and a video message from him was broadcast at a rock and rap concert in the Stadio Olimpico.

One of the teenagers chosen to confess to the leader of the world`s 1.2 billion Catholics said she had been trembling as she approached the chair on which the pope was sitting in St Peter`s Square.

"But as soon as I sat down I had the feeling of being next to a normal person rather than the pope. Francis is really one of us," Anna Taibi, 15, told La Repubblica newspaper.

The Sicilian teenager said she had been touched by Francis`s tenderness as he listened to her confession.

"I expected him to give me a penance ... instead he absolved me and let me go."

The importance of mobile phones to contemporary teenagers was also reflected in Francis`s message to the concert.

Clutching an iPhone, he told his audience that living without Jesus was like not having any signal. "Always be sure to go where there is a network: family, parish, school," he said.