Pope Francis has officially started his visit to Poland to attend World Youth Day 2016. World Youth Day is an event marked by massive gathering of Catholic youth from across the globe. “This is my first visit to central-eastern Europe and I am happy to begin with Poland, the homeland of the unforgettable Saint John Paul II, originator and promoter of the World Youth Days,” Pontiff said during his address at the Wawel Castle.
On July 26, the opening ceremony was held in Blonia Park, Krakow. The Opening Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz. During the opening Mass, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz said “We come from every nation under heaven, like those who came in great numbers to Jerusalem on Pentecost Day, but there are incomparably more of us now than 2,000 years ago, because we are accompanied by centuries of preaching the Gospel.”
“We bring experience of various cultures, traditions and languages. But what we also bring are testimonies of faith and holiness of our brothers and sisters, followers of the risen Lord, of past generations as well as the current generation,” he said. “You have come from all continents and nations, from the East and West, North and South of our globe,” he added.
“You bring with you many experiences. You bring many desires. You speak numerous languages. But starting today, we are going to communicate with each other in the language of the Gospel — a language of love, brotherhood, solidarity and peace.”
About two million young people were expected to attend World Youth Day which was scheduled from July 26-31. According to an estimate about 50 cardinals, 800 bishops and 20,000 priests from about 187 countries were expected to attend the event.