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Pope Francis Hints He May Not Be Around in 2019

Pope Francis Hints He May Not Be Around in 2019

Pope Francis told young people they are the future even if he may be not around to see it. The pontiff talked about his mortality during a vigil at St. Mary Major basilica for the next World Youth Day (WYD) wherein he called on the youth to rally enthusiasm for the occasion.

Pope Francis gestures as he speaks during the “Modern Slavery and Climate Change” conference at the Vatican, July 21, 2015. | REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis was once again talking about youth concerns on Saturday, April 8, when he said, "At my age, we (old people) are about to pass away." Sensing the surprised reaction of the audience, he added, "Who guarantees life? No one. At your age, you have the future ahead of you."

Later on, the 80-year-old pope expressed doubt if he would be around much longer for WYD in Panama in 2019.

"I don't know if it will be me, but the pope will be in Panama!" he said, adding, "There will be a Pope there and he will ask you if you took time to speak to the elderly, to listen to their dreams, so you can concretely act as prophets in the world today!"

Pope Francis has repeatedly said he doesn't expect to be pope for a long time and didn't rule out resignation as what Pope Benedict XVI, his predecessor, did. In 2015, he indicated that his tenure may last less than five years.

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"I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time and nothing more," he said.

Despite the short period of time he predicted for his papacy, the Holy Father doesn't show signs of slowing down. He begins the first of his 2017 foreign travels later this month which would bring him to Egypt, Portugal, Colombia, India, Bangladesh and possibly South Sudan.

The vigil was also for the 2018 Synod of Bishops on "Faith, Young People and the Discernment of Vocation." Pope Francis said no young person should be excluded from the synod.

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"We all want to hear you," he said. "Every young person has something to say to others, has something to say to adults, to priests, to sisters, to bishops and to the Pope! We all need to listen to you."

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