(Vatican Radio) From early on Saturday morning, World Youth Day pilgrims caught trams and buses from central Krakow to bring them as close as possible to the Campus Misericordiae. From there, they walked a further four kilometres to get to these grounds in order to be with the Holy Father at this ever popular vigil. Some of them carried mats to lie on for the long evening ahead, while others made sure they had food supplies to the ready. Under the searing heat of the sun pilgrims protected themselves with hats and sunglasses. There were also sprinkler systems dousing the young people with water and the voice of a loud speaker advised the mass of youth to take advantage of the zones for bottled water.
Once inside, the many thousands of young people in the camp joyously waved flags and sang songs, and when the Pope arrived, this field of pilgrims erupted with cheers.
One of the highlights of this vigil was when the Holy Father walked hand in hand with young representatives from 5 continents through an especially constructed Holy Door made from ribbons and wood which read, Jesus, I trust in You.
Then to their delight and their surprise the group joined Pope Francis in the Pope mobile making their way to the especially constructed alter, a replica of that in Blonia Park.
In the second of 5 themed scenes, a video entitled, “hope to those discouraged” showed different images of suffering in the world, beginning with the bombing of the twin towers on 9/11.
Also, during this scene a girl from Aleppo in Syria spoke just yards away from Pope Francis about the suffering in her country and the pain of her Christian compatriots. But she said, she and her colleagues at the Don Bosco centre in the city saw the presence of God in those who came there.
In another scene, “to forgive those who have done wrong”, the Holy Father and pilgrims watched a re-enactment of St John Paul’s prison visit to forgive the man who had made an attempt on his life.
When the Pope took to the podium, he told the over 1 million young people present, “we have no desire to conquer hatred with more hatred, violence with more violence, terror with more terror. We are here today because the Lord has called us together. Our response to a world at war has a name: its name is fraternity, its name is brotherhood, its name is communion, its name is family.”
He also encouraged them to place before the Lord their own “battles”, “the interior struggles that each of you carries in his or her heart” and to build bridges of brotherhood.
Reinforcing the remarks of earlier this week, the Pope said to the pilgrims, “we didn’t come into this world to “vegetate”, to take it easy, to make our lives a comfortable sofa to fall asleep on. No, we came for another reason: to leave a mark.”
God comes to break down all our fences, the Pope said. He comes to open the doors of our lives, our dreams...”
After a long period of reflection and prayer in front of the Blessed Eucharist, Pope Francis departed Campus Misericordiae in candlelight, leaving the youth of the world to continue that experience of fraternity and communion with music and song well into the night.
By Lydia O’Kane, Vatican Radio