World Youth Day 2016 at Kraków
31. Juli 2016
Together with 3000 young pilgrims from Austria, 2 young people from our parish went to Poland to join the world youth day 2016, the biggest international youth festival of the world. They were accompanied by Fr. Hannes Saurugg and Fr. Niklas Müller from our community. From July 26th to 31st, the festival took place at Kraków, the city of the holy Pope John Paul II. and the holy Sr. Faustyna Kowalska. Both adored the "Mercy of God", focus of their spirituality. Thus, the topic of the world youth day 2016 was "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Mt 5,7)
Tuesday-evening we arrived at the parish of Biały Kościół in the suburbs of Kraków. There, we met our hosting families for the next days, who gave us an impression of the famous "polish hospitality".
Every morning, we met german-speaking pilgrims for common prayers and the holy mass. And every morning one of the present german-speaking bishops joined us to explain and discuss the main theme "The Mercy of God" - on Wednesday came bishop Scheuer from Linz (Austria), on Thursday cardinal Schönborn from Vienna (Austria) and on Friday suffragan bishop König from Paderborn (Germany). In the afternoons, we went to the city center of Kraków to come together with other pilgrims from all over the world. Besides eucharistic adorations, the possibilities to confessions, concerts, musicals, exhibitions etc., we had time for sightseeing to get an impression of Kraków. Near the Wawel, the castle of Kraków, we had the great opportunity to see Pope Francis in his "popemobile" quite near - one of the highlights of the week! Other highlights were the welcome ceremony and the crossway with the Holy Father.
Saturday-morning we left our hosting families and went to the Campus Misericordiae, the place of the closing mass with Pope Francis. After a long way through heat and crowds of people we found a place to stay overnight in the open air. In the evening, together with Pope Francis we have prayed the vigil. In his speech he encouraged the young people not only to wait for a better future laying on a couch but to do something, to work for it.
On Sunday, the Holy Father celebrated the closing mass together with nearly 2 millions of young people. He sent them home to give evidence of the "Mercy of God" there in their daily life. We left Kraków, too, and went home, tired and exhausted, but lucky and rich endowed!