This week, hundreds of thousands of young people
from all over the world have been with Pope Francis at the 31st World Youth
Day event in Krakow, Poland - here are some photos, many taken by the young
people from St Albans and their friends.
More than 200,000 young people from around the
world gathered in Blonia Park, Krakow on Tuesday, for the the official Opening
Mass of World Youth Day celebrated by Krakow Metropolitan Cardinal Stanislaw
Dziwisz. The congregation included cardinals and bishops from all over the
world. There was a 300-strong choir and orchestra.
Just two hours before the Mass there had been a dramatic thunderstorm
and heavy rain - but the skies cleared in time for the Mass.
Cardinal Dziwisz welcomed everyone in six languages. Underlining that
the WYD participants had travelled from many different places and spoke many
different languages, the cardinal said that "from today we will speak to
one another in the language of the Gospel ... the language of brotherhood,
solidarity and peace".
The liturgy was celebrated in Latin while the Gospel was read in Polish
and Old Church Slavonic.
The Fire of Mercy, brought to the site from the Shrine of Divine Mercy
in Krakow-Lagiewniki, will burn at all the central celebrations of WYD.
At the end of the event Pope Francis will hand it over to representatives
of five continents.
"We come from 'every nation under heaven' ... We bring our experience
of various cultures, traditions and languages", Cardinal Dziwisz said in
his homily during the Mass.
He pointed out that some of the young people who had come to Krakow were
from regions of the world that enjoyed prosperity but that "among us are
also young people from countries whose people are suffering due to wars
and other kinds of conflicts, where children are starving to death and where
Christians are brutally persecuted. Among us are young pilgrims from parts
of the world that are ruled by violence and blind terrorism, and where authorities
usurp power over man and nations, following insane ideologies".
Having come to WYD with personal experience of the Gospel, with fears
and disappointments but also hopes, "we can face the challenges of the modern
world, in which man chooses between faith and disbelief, good and evil,
love and its rejection", Cardinal Dziwisz said.
There was spontaneous applause at the end of the Mass. A number of musicians
and singers performed after the Mass - among them a folk group from Zakopane.