Day 5: World Youth Day 2016

Saturday, July 30, 2016

World Youth Day 2016 continues in Krakow, Poland, and runs through Sunday, July 31. We're providing daily coverage all week long.

Pope Francis visited the tomb of St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) today at the International Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, Poland, in the course of the 2016 World Youth Day (WYD) in Krakow, held during the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

"The Lord wishes us to deeply feel His great mercy. Never walk away from Jesus, even if because of our sins or mistakes we consider ourselves the worst," said Pope Francis to the gathered crowd outside the Shrine. "Let us take advantage of this day to receive Christ's mercy."

Courtesy of Centro Televisivo Vaticano:

After spending some time praying before St. Faustina's relics and signing the guestbook, he blessed a Divine Mercy Image presented to him by members of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and spent some time speaking with them. The Vatican Radio commentator observed, "An image of the merciful Jesus, and we know how important that message is to Pope Francis, declaring an extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy." About 150 of the sisters were in attendance in the chapel for the Holy Father's visit.

"You talk about getting to the heart of the Jubilee of Mercy," said the Vatican Radio commentator during the papal visit to the chapel of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, St. Faustina's order. "This is the worldwide center for the celebration of Divine Mercy, for devotion to Divine Mercy. If you know who St. Faustina Kowalska is, you know why this place is important."

Calling the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska quite extraordinary and "one of the most eminent works of Christian mysticism," Vatican Radio's coverage discussed the message of Divine Mercy as transmitted through St. Faustina, as well as elements of the devotion, focusing especially on the Divine Mercy Image. Copies of the Image were everywhere to be seen on flags and life-size images, as well as all throughout the WYD celebrations. A close-up of the face of Christ from the Hyla rendition of the Divine Mercy Image has been the backdrop for the celebrations throughout the week.

Pope Francis then arrived at the Divine Mercy Basilica, where he passed through one of the Jubilee Year Holy Doors, an act that carries with it a plenary indulgence (when the usual conditions are met). The Holy Father heard the confessions of a number of young people as a choir sang the official hymn of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, then blessed another Divine Mercy Image, spent time speaking with and blessing some disabled faithful, and led the assembled pilgrims in the Hail Mary.

The Holy Father proceeded to the nearby Shrine of St. John Paul II, where he celebrated Mass for priests and religious. In his homily, he outlined a radical vision of the Christian life, a life of deeply generous detachment, of a true spirit of poverty, where all that we have and are is at the service of God and neighbor. Francis called his listeners to fully walk all the way with Jesus, not to settle for a mediocre life, a halfway act of generosity. The Holy Father concluded with a call to all Catholics to continue the mission of Jesus:

The final verse of today's Gospel speaks of a book: it is the Gospel that, we are told, does not contain all the many other signs that Jesus worked (v. 30). After the great sign of his mercy, we could say that there is no longer a need to add another. Yet one challenge does remain. There is room left for the signs needing to be worked by us, who have received the Spirit of love and are called to spread mercy. It might be said that the Gospel, the living book of God's mercy that must be continually read and reread, still has many blank pages left. It remains an open book that we are called to write in the same style, by the works of mercy we practise. Let me ask you this: What are the pages of your books like? Are they blank? May the Mother of God help us in this. May she, who fully welcomed the word of God into her life (cf. Lk 8:20-21), give us the grace to be living writers of the Gospel. May our Mother of Mercy teach us how to take concrete care of the wounds of Jesus in our brothers and sisters in need, those close at hand and those far away, the sick and the migrant, because by serving those who suffer we honour the flesh of Christ. May the Virgin Mary help us to spend ourselves completely for the good of the faithful entrusted to us, and to show concern for one another as true brothers and sisters in the communion of the Church, our holy Mother.

Dear brothers and sisters, each of us holds in his or her heart a very personal page of the book of God's mercy. It is the story of our own calling, the voice of the love that attracted us and transformed our life, leading us to leave everything at his word and to follow him (cf. Lk 5:11). Today let us gratefully rekindle the memory of his call, which is stronger than any resistance and weariness on our part. As we continue this celebration of the Eucharist, the centre of our lives, let us thank the Lord for having entered through our closed doors with his mercy, for calling us, like Thomas, by name, and for giving us the grace to continue writing his Gospel of love.

At the end of the Mass, the Holy Father venerated a relic of his predecessor, St. John Paul II, the Great Mercy Pope.

The Holy Father lunched with Cardinal Dziwisz of Krakow and twelve young people from Poland, Brazil, New Zealand, Vietnam, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Ukraine and Canada.

Later that afternoon, around 1.8 million pilgrims awaited the Holy Father in in Brzegi, Poland between Nowa Huta and Wieliczka, at "Campus Misericordiae," or the "Field of Mercy," site of the evening vigil before the closing Mass. Pope Francis walked through the Holy Door hand-in-hand with youth from around the world, whom he then invited to join him in his Popemobile as he drove amongst the assembled millions of youth from around the world.

The theatrical presentations on the stage focused around the life and mission of St. Faustina, even into the present, and the message and devotion of Divine Mercy. The first testimony was of a young woman who had felt impelled to go to Confession one day, not realizing she'd be confessing her sins on Divine Mercy Sunday in the Hour of Great Mercy. Both St. Faustina and St. John Paul II are at the heart of the evening's program.

Our woman on site in Poland, Melanie Williams, shares from Campus Misericordiae:

Wow! Take courage! Our Holy Father has spoken directly to the hearts of us youth! He has inspired us to take courage, to not be "bench warmers," or "couch potatoes," but rather to make a difference, to leave a mark on the world today! From this World Youth Day a spark will be going out to the whole world, of youth who are on fire to be the hands and feet of mercy! To build bridges across cultures and languages. We are ready, we are the hope of the future, and our Papa sends us forth tomorrow!

She shared the reaction of Toan from Houston, Texas, 19 years old, who said: "The Holy Father has inspired me to form my future and strive for greatness and sanctity."

"Being here today, I've realized that not everything goes the way you want, but it does go the way the Lord wants, and trusting our whole lives into the merciful hands of our Lord is what I'm learning to do here at World Youth Day."

Following the Holy Father's address to the assembled youth of the world, the crowd transitioned into Eucharistic Adoration, and commenced reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

At the conclusion of the service, the Holy Father gave the crowd Benediction, prayed before an icon of Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, and departed, leaving the youth to pray, sing, and camp for the night, all in vigil before tomorrow's closing Mass and concluding ceremonies.

Courtesy of Centro Televisivo Vaticano:

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