CS PHOTO BY JACLYN LIPPELMANN
English speaking World Youth Day pilgrims spend a day in worship, catechesis, Mass and Eucharistic Adoration at the Knights of Columbus Mercy Centre in Kraków, Poland.
CS PHOTO BY JACLYN LIPPELMANN English speaking World Youth Day pilgrims spend a day in worship, catechesis, Mass and Eucharistic Adoration at the Knights of Columbus Mercy Centre in Kraków, Poland.
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On July 27, all of the English-speaking World Youth Day pilgrims gathered together in the Tauron Arena in Kraków, which they have transformed into the “Knights of Columbus Mercy Centre,” for worship, catechesis, Mass and Eucharistic Adoration.

The arena was filled with clapping and singing during the moments of praise and worship, and filled with reverence during Adoration. It was also accessible to people who are Deaf, as there was a someone there performing the songs in sign language.

Chris Stefanick, the president of “Real Life Catholic,” spoke at the event, and told the youth that Poland’s history shows that from great trials come great saints. He asked what would have happened if St. John Paul II had never stepped out of his comfort zone, and begged them to “respond to God’s call with a generous and open heart.” He said, “It is through an encounter with Jesus that we know who we really are.”

Jason Evert, a prominent speaker on the topic of chastity, also contributed to the catechesis, telling the young people that if they can free themselves from lust, “we become free to love.” His wife, Crystalina Evert, also spoke, and urged the pilgrims to “let the rest of your life start today,” by going to Confession.

Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley continued to encourage the pilgrims, telling them that despite people’s sinfulness, “Christ wants us to know how much we are loved.”

Bishops from the United States joined bishops from around the world to celebrate Mass for the pilgrims. During the Mass, Cardinal O’Malley told the pilgrims, “When you’re inside the Church, you see the joy and love and beauty that exists.” He also told them, “As people who are forgiven, we must learn how to forgive and be people of mercy.”

During the hour of Divine Mercy, the area full of young pilgrims gathered in Eucharistic Adoration.

From inside of the Mercy Center, pilgrims watched on a large screen as Pope Francis’ plane arrived in Poland for World Youth Day. The crowd erupted into cheers.

The day continued with several other speakers, such as Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, who called on pilgrims to keep the flame of religious freedom burning in their hearts. Author George Weigel called on the pilgrims to be agents of the New Evangelization. Then, Archdiocese of Washington Auxiliary Bishop Martin Holley spoke, telling the pilgrims that his motto is, “His mercy endures forever.”

To follow the activities of the pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Washington throughout the week, visit http://wyddc.org/live/ or follow @WashArchdiocese on twitter.