The Pope has canceled all official engagements for the remainder of the year as he steps up his efforts to engage with young people and put a stop to dwindling congregations.

The head of the Catholic Church has turned to the tech industry for inspiration, focusing particularly on the successes of viral apps and games.

Disregarding the voiced concerns of senior Vatican officials, Pope Francis launched his new campaign at last month’s Tech Con in Silicon Valley.

A bemused audience of tech geeks and developers listened as God’s chosen voice on earth heralded a sea change in the fortunes of organized religion. He announced that immediately after the conference he would go to ground somewhere in continental Europe, sparking a manhunt of unprecedented proportions.

The first lucky young gamer to discover and take a photo of him using the Popémon app will win a free pass to the promised land.

Since the launch some three weeks ago, Popémon downloads have been underwhelming while analysis of social media traffic does not indicate any substantive efforts to locate the 79-year old.

A Vatican source was not unduly surprised by the teething problems, recalling that the Holy Father has always been a very committed hider. During a previous Vatican ‘games hour’, he recounts the Pope burrowing beneath the floor tiles of the basilica, resulting in a fractured clavicle. “He was under there for four days and refused to come out until God sent him a sign that he had won. Pietro had to put some food coloring in the font and declare a miracle before he’d let the fire brigade cut him free.



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