“For these last few days we were witnesses of the sowing of good done by Pope Francis and a million young people, who opened their hearts to the word that they heard from the successor of Peter,” said Bishop Damian Muskus at a conference summarizing WYD.
The most important and most often used word during the conference was “thank you”. It was directed to all institutions, which were responsible for coorganizing WYD and ensuring the safety of all pilgrims – Małopolska governor Józef Pilch, Małopolska voivodship marshal Jacek Krupy and president of Krakow Jacek Majchrowski.
Expressions of thanks were given to all services: the police, the fire department, the army, the emergency service, volunteers and scouts. They were present everywhere where pilgrims went. “Thank yous” were also expressed by journalists, for their reporting which went to Poland and the whole world, and special thanks were directed by President Majchrowski to residents of Krakow for receiving pilgrims and making their homes and squares available to them.
Besides spiritual and cultural experiences, which we experienced during this time, the Małopolska voivodship marshal pointed to buildings which thanks to World Youth Day were able to be completed earlier. He recalled among others the acceleration of the building of the station in Łagiewniki with an entire road system, and the Center of Economic Activity in Campus Misericordiae. Each investment that arose from this occasion will be able to be used by the residents of Krakow and the entire voivodship.
“Around 100 tons of healthy Polish food was distributed,” announced Józef Pilch. Pilgrims could try juices from Łącka, kabanos sausage fro Poznań, yogurts, which they really liked.
The tenfold decrease in crime during World Youth Day was received with surprise. “This is because we are hosting a special kind of young people with a positive view of life, smiling, joyful,” said Bp Muskus, but also thanks to the work of various, well prepared structures of services.
I estimate that around 20-30 percent of pilgrims will return to Krakow and Małopolska. Many young people acknowledged that they will very willingly visit Poland again. “Krakow is a beautiful city,” said Manuel Costa from Argentina and afterwards added, “I've already checked out a university where I would be able to study, so I think that I will be back here soon.
As stated by Bishop Damian Muskus, it is estimated that at the Main Events at the Opening Mass participated around 200 thousand pilgrims, twice as many appeared at the Papal Welcome on Thursday, whereas on Friday for the Way of the Cross there was around 800 thousand pilgrims. In turn in Campus Misericordiae on Saturday there came around 1.6 million faithful, and when it comes to the Sunday Mass, there may have been over 2.5 million pilgrims participating. All figures are estimated, we will announce more exact numbers in the coming days.
Photo: Paulina Krzyżak