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The Catholic Woodstock

World Youth Day Fills Krakow

By Raymond Rolak
The Polish Weekly / Tygodnik Polski

Kraków–  Over 400,000 young people from 187 countries have registered online but far more are expected.  Attendance for the scheduled religious services and expected meetings with Pope Francis are open to all those wishing to take part.

Organizers predict that up to 2 million people, under hot skies, are likely to attend the main events of World Youth Days.  The highlights are a night vigil with the Pope Francis on Saturday and an open-air mass celebrated by the pontiff on the last day, Sunday July 31.

The theme of this year’s World Youth Day is, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”  Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz of Kraków has told journalists that he hopes for a change of atmosphere in Europe and the world.

World Youth Day (WYD) is a worldwide encounter with the Pope which is typically celebrated every three years in a different country.  WYD is open to all young people who want to take part in a festive encounter with their contemporaries centered on believing in Jesus Christ.  The event is an opportunity to experience in first person the universality of the Church; to share with the whole world the hope of many young people who want to commit themselves to Christ and others.  World Youth Day is a unique way to foster a Catholic deepening of faith.  The mission statement of prayer and the sacraments are reached by the comradeship with thousands of other likeminded young people.  There are many events that foster shared interests and ambitions.

During the week of WYD, there is a complete cultural agenda to showcase Poland.  Also there are additional and multiple opportunities to see the Pope.  In a pre-taped message, Pope Francis said, “The tragic events of recent days have created divisions among people.  In these circumstances, the get-together of young people in Kraków is doing something entirely different – it builds unity, creates a community and a sense of brotherhood.”

WYD-Pope-Francis-greets-yforwebAfter arriving and concluding dinner with the Bishops of Poland, the Holy Father appeared in the Papal Window to greet the faithful gathered in the square in front of the Bishop’s Residence in Krakow.  Most activities for pilgrims will take place in Błonia – the traditional place for papal meetings in Krakow.  It will also be the hub of activity during World Youth Day.  Organized nearby is a Zone of Reconciliation, scheduled Youth Festival events, as well as the Vocations Center.  Also food and beverages will be available at five stations.

Until August 18, and now a museum, the family home of John Paul II in Wadowice will be open mainly to WYD pilgrims.  It will host a special exhibit entitled Suffering is Meaningful.

Activities are taking place in Warsaw.  There was an open air concert and the Sejm will be open for tours related to WYD and Pope John Paul II.  On these days, pilgrims will be able to see the gallery in the Meeting Hall of the Sejm and the Main Hall.  Visiting the buildings of the parliament, guests will be able to see places connected with the figure of St. John Paul II.  On June 11, 1999 for the first time in history the Pope made a visit in the National Parliament.  The Holy Father delivered a message to the Sejm and Senate of the Republic of Poland.  In the main hall are found two plaques commemorating this historic event. The chair on which the Pope sat during the meeting with parliamentarians was also preserved and presently it is found in the Sejm Chapel in the New House of Parliamentarians.  In 2015 the relics of John Paul II were introduced to the Chapel.  All these places will be found on the tour during Days in the Dioceses.

Some 700 soldiers from Poland and ten other countries, including the United States, France, Spain, the Baltics and New Zealand, are among the participants in World Youth Days.  Before heading to Kraków on Wednesday, they have been touring Warsaw and visiting the Shrine of the Black Madonna in Częstochowa and the former Nazi German concentration camp of Auschwitz.  Poland has 40,000 soldiers assigned for security.  Almost 5,700 journalists have been credentialed and will be covering World Youth Days.  A press center is located at the University of Science and Technology in Kraków.

“I look forward to meeting the young people from throughout the world gathered in Kraków and having the opportunity to meet the beloved Polish nation,” said Pope Francis.  “My entire visit will be inspired by Mercy during this Jubilee Year, and by the grateful and blessed memory of Saint John Paul II, who instituted the World Youth Days and was the guide of the Polish people in its recent historic journey towards freedom.”

Among the many foreign statesmen expected to attend World Youth Days is President Juan Carlos Valera from Panama.  He is coming to Poland with a large group of bishops and over 500 young people.  According to unconfirmed reports, Panama is to be named the venue of the next World Youth Days, in 2019.  Roman Catholics account for two-thirds of the population of that Central American state.

wyd-Pilgrim-with-official-backforwebThe head of Poland’s Episcopate said that Pope Francis invoked empathy for migrants in his closed-door meeting with Poland’s bishops.  The meeting was held at the start of Francis’ visit to Kraków.

Poland’s conservative government has shut the doors to migrants, a stance that is also attributed to church leaders in Poland who support the government.  Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki said the pope stressed that the Gospels require help to be offered to people in difficult situations.  The meeting concluded with the decision that more can be done to help the migrants.

Pope Francis has thanked all those who have expressed condolences over the murder of a French priest, singling out French President Francois Hollande.  Pope Francis told reporters at a briefing that aboard his flight Wednesday from Rome to Poland that “even the president of France wanted to be in contact with me by phone, like a brother, thank you.”    Opening doors to migrant’s demands “great wisdom and compassion” he said, chastising a rightwing government that has refused to share the burden during Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.

Pope Francis was speaking about the elderly priest who was slain by an extremist in Normandy, France, while he was saying Mass.

http://www.polishweekly.com/

Kardinal Stanisław Dziwisz

O duchowym przesłaniu Światowych Dni Młodzieży mówili dzisiaj podczas konferencji prasowej kard. Stanisław Dziwisz i bp Damian Muskus.  Przedstawiciele władz Krakowa wojewoda Józef Pilch, marszałek Jacek Krupa i prezydent Krakowa Jacek Majchrowski mówili o przygotowaniach do ŚDM oraz nadziejach i korzyściach związanych z przybyciem młodzieży do Małopolski.

– Młodzież radosna, pogodna przybywa dzisiaj do Krakowa. Przybywają do miasta stolicy Bożego Miłosierdzia. Pragniemy wprowadzić młodzież w ten wielki temat Bożego Miłosierdzia, tak ważny dziś w Europie i na całym świecie. Jezus powiedział, że jeśli nie zwrócicie się do Bożego Miłosierdzia nie będzie pokoju na świecie. Może dlatego Opatrzność sprawiła, że właśnie w Krakowie tym miejscu  Bożego Miłosierdzia młodzież gromadzi się w tym roku Jubileuszowym – mówił kard Stanisław Dziwisz, Przewodniczący Komitetu Organizacyjnego ŚDM.

– Siostra Faustyna napisała w Dzienniczku, że z Krakowa wyjdzie iskra która przygotuje świat na przyjście ostateczne Jezusa Chrystusa. Chcemy przekazać młodzieży tę tajemnicę Bożego Miłosierdzia, niech zabiorą z Krakowa tę myśl, tę iskrę pokoju. W Europie w tej chwili mamy niepokój, pokój jest zagrożony – terroryzm i to brutalny terroryzm. Stąd chcemy stworzyć nastrój pokoju, pojednania, solidarności, życzliwości wzajemnej i niech obejmie ta atmosfera cały świat    począwszy od tego spotkania tu w Krakowie – kontynuował kard Dziwisz.

Bp Damian Muskus podkreślił znaczenie słów papieża Franciszka: „Wszystko odbywa się pod znakiem miłosierdzia”. – To krótkie zdanie zawiera streszczenie wydarzeń, które niebawem nas czekają, i których będziemy świadkami przez kolejne dni. Duchowym centrum tych dni będą krakowskie Łagiewniki miejsce dwóch sanktuariów: Bożego Miłosierdzia i św. Jana Pawła II – mówił bp Damian.

Biskup zaprosił młodych do pielgrzymki Jubileuszowej pomiędzy dwoma sanktuariami św. JP II i Bożego Miłosierdzia. – Pragniemy by młodzi nie tylko poznali te miejsca ale przede wszystkim by nauczyli się tej prostej modlitwy – Koronki do Bożego Miłosierdzia. By wrócili do swoich domów z umiejętnością stosowania tej modlitwy w życiu – dodał bp Muskus.

– W Krakowie zmienił się klimat. Kraków przestał się lękać, mieć dystans do ŚDM. Wszyscy są zadowoleni. Teraz wielu szuka tych młodych, żeby dać im gościnę we własnych domach – podkreślił kardynał Dziwisz.

Przedstawiciele władz Krakowa z dumą mówili o przygotowaniach do ŚDM. – Obiecujemy, że każdy pielgrzym będzie w Krakowie bezpieczny, zapewniał wojewoda Pilch. Marszałek Jacek Krupa podkreślał znaczenie ŚDM w promocji regionu. – Będą naszymi ambasadorami, będą sławić Małopolskę w świecie – mówił marszałek o przybyłych na ŚDM pielgrzymach.

– Brama w herbie Krakowa jest otwarta, zachęca do przybycia – mówił prezydent Jacek Majchrowski, przypominając wielokulturowe tradycje miasta i serdecznie zapraszając młodych do studiowania na krakowskich uczelniach.

Alina Klin, Ed.D, contributed from Kraków

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