Pope Francis hears the confessions of 16 teenagers at the Vatican after a surprise appearance

The head of the Catholic church heard confessions for over an hour

Pope Francis hears the confessions of 16 teenagers at the Vatican after a surprise appearance

Andrew Medichini / AP/Press Association Images

Pope Francis has personally heard the confessions of 16 teenagers who were visiting the Vatican.

The pontiff made a surprise appearance earlier this morning in St Peter's Square where thousands of young Catholics, ranging in age from 13 to 16, were participating in a special Holy Year youth day. This also included confession near the famed Colonnade of Bernini. 

Francis and each of the 16 teenagers sat together in chairs set up in pairs for him, and many others hearing confessions in the square.

It is believed that the pope spent more than an hour in the square. He has dedicated the Holy Year to two central themes of his papacy: mercy and reconciliation.