What an amazing experience as we gather with Pope Francis to World Youth Day! The atmosphere is beyond words; electric, amazing, jubilant, buzzing don't even come close - it's been that surreal!
Before all that, we made the pilgrim Walk of Mercy from the Shrine of St John Paul II to the Shrine of Divine Mercy and the walk through the Holy Door, praying for you, for our families and for all those intentions that we carried to Poland. We stopped for catechesis along the way lead by Fr Mark, Fr Kevin and Jane allowing a very good chat between our young pilgrims who spoke on the pressures and challenges of living joyfully their Catholic faith in Ireland today.
The sight of over a million and a half young people gathering in Błonia Park is a sight in itself but when they sing in unison, it brings it to a whole new level. The wonderful sound of the WYD Anthem "Błogosławieni Milosierni" echoed around this beautiful park and at the end of it, Pope Francis could be seen leaving the centre of Kraków, taking the tram through the streets to Błonia. Our group was perfectly positioned to catch an up close view of Pope Francis as he went past.
The amazing welcoming ceremony was topped only by the Holy Father's words, challenging us to take up the adventure of Mercy, not to settle for what promises happiness but is empty, but come to Him who is God's gift to us, his Son Jesus Christ. He also told the young pilgrims to call their grandparents!!
While the crowds slowly dissipated, our Meath pilgrims stayed on to sing, dance and celebrate with pilgrims from the four corners of the world. God is good... all the time!
(Fr Kevin Heery)
Fr Kevin, Lisa and Barry give us another update after their move from Płock to Krakow. They describe the opening Mass, visit to the Shrine of Pope John Paul II, their visit to Auschwitz, the welcome ceremony for Pope Francis in Błonia Park and his challenge of mercy.