The second day of Pope Francis trip top Poland started with an “unscheduled event”. Early in the morning , before leaving for Czestochowa, the pope went to visit Cardinal Franciszek Macharski who is very ill; he was successor of Woytila in Cracow, and he is loved deeply by the polish people.
The trip continued toward the Holy Shrine of Czestochowa, where the Holy Father stayed silently in front of the image of the Black Madonna for a long time. Then he concelebrated Mass with all the 130 Polish bishops and numerous priests; Polish civil authorities were also present and some hundreds of thousand faithful. The thanksgiving mass was celebrated on occasion of the 1050th anniversary of Poland baptism.
During mass a step covered by a red carpet caused a moment of emotion. While censing the altar, the Holy Father tripped over it, he immediately got up with no consequences.
“To listen, to get involved and to be close to our neighbor, sharing people’s joys and efforts so that the gospel will be passed on in a most coherent way and will bear much fruit for a positive irradiation and transparency of life” This was the commitment given to the Polish during the mass at Jasna Gora. “Thinking about the gift of a millennium rich with faith, it is beautiful first of all to thank God who walked with your people, taking it by hand accompanying it at close hand in many situations” referring to the problematic history of Poland “It is the same that, as church, we are called to do always.”
In the meantime pilgrims in the various churches that hosted them and throughout the region they listened to the second catechesis on the theme “Let yourself be touched by the mercy of Christ” in preparation to welcome the Holy Father.
“Dear Young Friends, good evening! At last we are together!” After the prologue of the night before with the Italian youth, these are the very first words pronounced by the pope to the young people – around 700 thousands gathered in the Blonia Park notwithstanding the heavy rain. So the pope was officially entering his second World Youth Day after Rio de Janeiro of three years ago.
“In this, the land of his birth, I especially want to thank Saint John Paul II who first came up with the idea of these meetings and gave them such momentum. From his place in heaven, he is with us and he sees all of you: so many young people from such a variety of nations, cultures and languages but with one aim, that of celebrating Jesus who is living in our midst.” “What better opportunity to renew our friendship with Jesus than by building friendships among yourselves! What better way to build our friendship with Jesus than by sharing him with others!” then the words dedicated to the festive sense: “What better way to experience the contagious joy of the Gospel than by striving to bring the Good News to all kinds of painful and difficult situations!”
“Dear young people, in these days Poland is in a festive mood; in these days Poland wants to be the ever-youthful face of mercy” continued the Pope: “From this land, with you and all those young people who cannot be present today yet join us through the various communications media, we are going to make this World Youth Day an authentic Jubilee celebration”; then he reminded: “ It is Jesus who has called us to this Thirty-first World Youth Day. Jesus tells us: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy” (Mt 5:7). Blessed indeed are they who can forgive, who show heartfelt compassion, who are capable of offering the very best to others.”
“I ask you: do you want a full life? Start right this moment by letting yourself be moved!” “Because happiness is sown and blossoms in mercy. That is his answer, his offer, his challenge, his adventure: mercy. Mercy always has a youthful face. Like that of Mary of Bethany, who sat as a disciple at the feet of Jesus and joyfully listened to his words, since she knew that there she would find peace. Like that of Mary of Nazareth, whose daring “Yes” launched her on the adventure of mercy. All generations would call her blessed; to all of us she is the “Mother of Mercy”. “All together, let us ask the Lord: launch us on the adventure of mercy!” exclaimed Francis. “Launch us on the adventure of building bridges and tearing down walls, be they barriers or barbed wire. Launch us on the adventure of helping the poor, those who feel lonely and abandoned, or no longer find meaning in their lives...Send us, like Mary of Bethany, to listen attentively to those we do not understand, those of other cultures and peoples, even those we are afraid of because we consider them a threat. Make us attentive to our elders, to our grandparents, as Mary of Nazareth was to Elizabeth, in order to learn from their wisdom. I ask you: do you speak to your grandparents?” The pope added improvising: “Seek your grandparents, they have the wisdom of life.” The final prayer was: “Lord, send us to share your Merciful Love. We want to welcome you in our midst during this World Youth Day. We want to affirm that our lives are fulfilled when they are shaped by mercy, that this is the better part that it will never be taken from us.”