Awaiting the arrival of pope Francis, young people from all over the world opened officially the XXXIst World Youth Day on Tuesday, 26 July 201. They have arrived in Cracow a few days before and during the morning they had time for national meetings, visits to the city’s center and the splendid exhibition “Mary Mater Misericordiae” located at the Cracow National Museum.
On the 26th everybody heard the horrifying news happened in a church of Rouen( France), all were shocked and prayed. Msgr Lebrun, archbishop of the French city, present at Cracow left immediately in order to be close to the victims and their relatives. “I leave here-he said- hundreds of young people who are the future of humanity. I would like to ask them not to give up in front of violence and to become apostles of the civilization of love”.
In the afternoon of the same day, the youth went to Blonia for the official opening of the World Youth Day (WYD) participating at the Mass presided by His Eminence Stanislaw Card Dziwisz, archbishop of Cracow. Under the vigilant gaze of Jesus - as illustrated in the image of saint Faustina Kowalska’s apparitions - dominating the stage young people were given the WYD symbols the cross and the Salus Populi Romani Madonna icon. Since the beginning of the afternoon the rain was pouring, however the symbols were brought all around the sectors of the plaza crowded with young people notwithstanding the wet park. The “Relay race of the Mercy’s Flame”, that had visited all the important places of John Paul II pontificate from Lagiewnik to Blonia, ended at the official opening ceremony of the Polish WYD, dedicated especially to him who was the initiator.
“You have arrived here from all continents and nations of the world from the north and from the south of our globe–affirmed cardinal Dziwisz. You have carried with you all of your life experiences. You have many desires. You speak different languages. However, today among us we will speak the only language of the Gospel, the language of love, the language of brotherhood, solidarity and peace. You all are most welcomed in the city of Karol Wojtyla-saint John Paul II. In this city he has matured as a person to the service of Church, and from here he started walking the paths of the world proclaiming Jesus Christ’s gospel.”
During his homily cardinal Dziwisz underlined also the difficulties of today’s world: “We have arrived to today’s encounter with Jesus carrying life experiences according to the gospel lived in problematical situations in various societies. We carry within fears and delusions, together with our hopes and memories. We wish a more humane and just world, open to solidarity and fraternity. We can face the challenges of today’s world in which each person makes her or his own choice between faith and not believing, good and evil, love and its contrary.”
“Tomorrow the Holy Father Francis, Peter of nowadays, -he continued- will be among us. The day after tomorrow we will greet him in this same place. We will listen to his words during the following days, and we will pray with him. Then the cardinal added: “To experience the universality of the church is a unique marvelous experience strictly connected to WYD. The future of the church depends on each one of us, from our faith and holiness. It depends on us the possibility of arriving through the gospel to all those who do not yet know Jesus, or do not know Him enough.”
The Cardinal talked about the city and its saints: “Cracow lives the mystery of the Divine Mercy thanks to humble sister Faustina and John Paul II who sensitize the church and the world to this remarkable characteristic of God.”
At the end of his homily cardinal Dziwisz launched an appeal: “Going back to your own country, to your home and community bring all the spark of mercy, reminding that blessed are the merciful, because they will find mercy on return. Bring to all the flame of your faith and enkindle with it other flames so that all hearts will beat to the same rhythm of Jesus’ Heart, that is the ardent source of charity. May the flame of love envelope the whole world so that selfishness violence injustice will find no room in it; instead the civilization of good, reconciliation , and peace might be strengthened.” Finally, remembering John Paul II “messenger of the Good News, initiator of World Youth Day, friend of young people and of the family” you too be like him a messenger; bring to the world the good news of Jesus Christ. Be witnesses of the fact that it is worth to entrust to Him our yours and our own destiny. Open wide your heart to Christ!”