23 January, 2019
Pope Francis has joined a technology tool designed to permit people to connect spiritually.
The pope spoke about the "Click to Pray" app during his weekly Sunday religious address at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.
Pope Francis, who is 82, once said he considered himself a "disaster" with technology. But he demonstrated the app to the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square. After launching Click to Pray from a tablet, he asked the person assisting if he had done it correctly. His helper confirmed that he had.
The app was first launched in 2016, but the pope announced that he was now adding his own personal prayer profile.
"Internet and social networks are a resource of our time," he told followers gathered for his message. "A way to stay in touch with others, to share values and projects, and to express the desire to form a community."
Today, he added, the internet can also provide a way for people across the world "to pray as a community, to pray together."
The announcement came as the pope prepared to visit Panama for World Youth Day 2019. The international Catholic gathering is expected to draw more than 150,000 young people from around the world.
The pope said he believes the app is a good way for young Catholics and others to share their prayers through the internet and electronic devices. "I above all invite you, young people, to download the app," he told the crowd.
The app will inform users what the leader of the world's 1.3 billion Roman Catholics is praying for so they can join him. "Here I will put in requests for prayers for the Church mission," the pope said.
Users can also learn what other members of the social network are praying for and join them in prayer as well. The Click to Pray website also lists worldwide prayer campaigns users can join. It said that so far in January, more than 1.4 million prayers had been added to Click to Pray.
During his address, Pope Francis spoke of one world event that could unite users of the app in prayer. Last weekend, 170 migrants were feared lost in the Mediterranean after leaving in small boats from Libya and Morocco.
"They were looking for a future for their lives and perhaps they were victims of human traffickers," Pope Francis said. "Let us pray for them and for those who are responsible for what happened."
The Click to Pray app is currently available in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese and German. Versions will be launched soon in Chinese and Vietnamese. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from Reuters, Agence France-Presse and online sources. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
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Words in This Story
app – n. program for a smartphone or other device that performs a special function
profile – n. information about a person's life, work, interests, etc. on a social networking website
network – n. website or computer program permitting people to communicate and share information through the internet using a computer or mobile phone