(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis told young people that the world needs those who do not live to live their lives “halfway” and who like Christ are ready to spend their lives serving the poorest and most vulnerable. He said the Way of the Cross is Jesus’ style and is a way that fears no lack of success, ostracism or solitude. The Pope was speaking at the conclusion of a Way of the Cross event attended by young people taking part in the World Youth Day gathering in the Polish city of Krakow. During his address to the young people, the Pope had affectionate words of greeting for “our brothers and sisters from Syria who have fled from the war.” The Syrian refugees were among a group of about 20 young people helping to carry the Cross during the first station. The others included a Polish couple who until recently lived on the streets and young people from Italy, Argentina, Ukraine and Pakistan.
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday morning paid an emotional visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum, the site of a Nazi concentration and extermination camp where more than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were put to death during the Second World War.
Prior to his visit to the camp, the Pope decided he would not give a speech, saying he preferred to enter alone, in silent prayer. “I would like to go to that place of horror without speeches, without crowds -- only the few people necessary,” he explained. “Alone, enter, pray. And may the Lord give me the grace to cry.”