The 'Pope Francis Laundry' for Rome's homeless opens at Vatican

Tens of thousands of people carrying palms and olive branches joined the pope during a solemn procession in St. Peter's Square under a bright, warm sun for the beginning of Holy Week.

A few minutes earlier, he drew gasps from the pews when he teased: "At my age, we (old people) are about to pass away".

Pope Francis told young people they are the future even if he may be not around to see it.

Sensing their reaction, Francis, whose papacy began in March 2013, added: "Who guarantees life? No one. At your age, you have the future ahead of you".

Pope Francis has mentioned on several occasions that he does not expect to have a long pontificate.

At the same time, there's nothing indicating that Francis is slowing down.

The vigil was also for the 2018 Synod of Bishops on "Faith, Young People and the Discernment of Vocation". Francis took that request further Saturday, saying he wanted to involve not just dedicated Catholics but all young people, atheists included.

Highlighting the principle of accountability which, the Pope said, is an essential cornerstone of human action, he said that various fields of technology and science put a "huge and growing power into the hands of man".

"You also are asked to foresee and prevent the negative consequences that can cause a distorted use of the knowledge and ability to manipulate life", he said April 9 during an audience with the Italian National Committee for Biosecurity, Biotechnologies and Life Sciences.

As we listen to the crowd joyfully acclaim Jesus as our King, let us also reflect on "the slanders and insults, the snares and betrayals, the abandonment to an unjust judgment, the blows, the lashes and the crown of thorns, and lastly, the way of the cross leading to the crucifixion", the Pope said.

Young People. That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.

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