(photo credit: REUTERS)
Pope Francis paid a visit to a church in the seaside town of Ostia Lido south of Rome on Sunday (May 3) and warned the congregation about the importance of not being a hypocrite.
The 78-year old pope slightly stumbled on the steps up to the altar as he celebrated the Mass, where he reminded the congregation that everyone was a sinner.
"All of us are sinners and he (Jesus) forgives us. He is merciful," said the pontiff.
"But what he wants are these two things - that we abide with him and that we are not hypocrites," the pope added.
Pope Francis on also asked a group of elderly and sick members of Rome's seaside parish to pray for him because he, too, had grown old and was ailing.
"Pray for me, too, eh," Francis told the parishioners in a private meeting that was later broadcast by Catholic channel TV2000.
"I'm a little old and a little sick, but not too much," he said jokingly, drawing cheers and applause from the audience.
The comment comes two months after Francis said in an interview with a Mexican broadcaster: "I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief - four or five years, even two or three. Two have already passed."
While the pope is apparently in good health, there is always intense attention paid to a pontiff's condition, especially since Francis's predecessor stepped down in 2013 citing his advanced age and frailty.
Benedict, now known as Pope Emeritus, became the first head of the Roman Catholic Church in 600 years to resign instead of ruling until he died, and Francis has said Benedict's move should not be considered "an exception, but an institution".
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