The pope gathered in the Vatican with about 4,000 homeless people. It is the first encounter for the three days of the Jubilee of the Homeless and the Marginalized.
It was perhaps the first crowded meeting a pope held with people in marginalized situations. Thus, they did not arrive empty-handed, but gave him hundreds of letters and tender gifts.
He stopped to listen to their testimonies.
He then improvised a catechesis in which he asked for forgiveness on behalf of the whole Church.
"I apologize on behalf of Christians who do not read the Gospel and do not find poverty as the center; I apologize for all the times that Christians, when in front of a poor person or when a poor person is near, look the other way. I'm sorry."
Pope Francis told the homeless people, who came from all over Europe, not to give up and to dream of building a better world. Above all, he said, do not let anyone trample your dignity.
"Life can become beautiful... it is possible to find beauty in the worst situations in which you live. That is called dignity: that is the word that came to me. The ability to find beauty in the saddest moments and amidst the most suffering, can only be done by a man or woman who has dignity: poor - yes, but dragged down - no. That is dignity."
Pope Francis asked the attendees to pray for him so he could be faithful to his ministry. They agreed with the outward sign of laying hands on him as they prayed.
The pope dedicated more than half of the meeting to greeting and personally embracing many of the participants, who were so excited that the Vatican bodyguards had to pay special attention.