Pope Francis was greeted by a large number of pilgrims – an estimated 1.6 million people – as he drove onto Campus Misericordiae. A colorful crowd cheered and rejoiced upon the Holy Father’s arrival.
The pope passed through the Door of Mercy accompanied by 6 young people representing 6 continents: Joseph Gulliford represented Europe, Emily Yeh – Asia, Elen Belázquez – Latin America, Peter Szarkowski – North America, Ralambo Lay – Africa, and Ann-Margaret Leung-Wai represented Oceania. To everyone’s surprise, the pope invited the youth into the popemobile and together they drove to the altar. The Holy Father sat in a chair and the young people sat on the floor, at his feet.
Card. Dziwisz welcomed the pope:
“We welcome you, Holy Father and all of you gathered on Campus Misericordiae, on this vast area which in our eyes today becomes a great cenacle, a cenacle of young disciples of the master from Nazareth. There is a countless multitude of them from every continent and nation, but in these days we communicate in one language: the language of faith, fraternity, and love. These young people are also waiting for your words, spoken in the language of love, here and now in Krakow. Look, Holy Father, there are so many of us, but today there are even more brothers and sisters with us all over the world, who, thanks to television and radio transmissions are joining us for this prayer vigil. I sincerely welcome all of you, brothers and sisters. We are sending you all warm greetings from the Polish homeland of John Paul II, from Krakow, the city of Karol Wojtyła.
We greet you from the city that, in a special way, lives and is the capital of Divine Mercy. Holy Father, youth are the hope of the Church – they are your hope, and the hope of the world of the third millenium. It is they who will preach the Gospel of peace in a new language, with a new sensitivity, with a new hope. Preparing them also is that which they already experienced and that which they are already experiencing during World Youth Day Krakow 2016 in Poland and in Krakow,” says Cardinal dziwisz.
The pope, together with youth from all continents, listened to reflections based on a program that alluded to the prayer of St. Sister Faustina “Help me, O Lord,” which preceded the vigil. The staging alluded to the main theme of the vigil: “Road to Jesus.”
Each scene was supplemented with testimonies of people who shared their experience of faith.
ASPhoto: Marcin Mazur