Krakow is full of images of the two saints closely linked to Divine Mercy. Young people "want to learn more" about them: long queues of children and young people at info points - Poles and non - explain the life and works of the “champions of the faith". President Duda gave five days of leave to soldiers under 35: "This is a time when should only think of peace." And the Pope on Twitter: "It will be a pilgrimage of faith and fraternity".
Krakow (AsiaNews) - The XXXI World Youth Day in Krakow "is a pilgrimage of faith and fraternity". Pope Francis writes on his Twitter account, blessing at the same time "the journeys of the young people" to the Polish city that is preparing to welcome WYD.
Meanwhile, the "cultural capital" of Poland is overflowing: countless banners and flags bear the faces of St. John Paul II and Sister Faustina Kowalska, a meeting places for young people around the world.
Under these banners, in the style of theTibetan"wind horses", volunteers gather who - in different languages and completely free of charge – gather together 20 young people at a time. They explain, in the native language, the life and works of the two great champions of Polish faith. To such an extent that as a young Filippino told AsiaNews, "now I see them as two angels. Angels of WYD! ".
Certainly the presence of tens of thousands of young people in the city center has brought a considerable increase in the already heavy presence of security forces. The arrest of an Iraqi in Lodz with explosives in his house has not calmed tempers: he now stands threatened with eight years in prison but not on terrorism charges, because "there is no basis”.
Polish President Duda, who will welcome Pope Francis at Wawel castle in private for a meeting in two days, wanted to emphasize, however, that the World Youth Day should be a time "during which think about peace."
In a letter sent to the young soldiers under 35 years, the Chief Executive gave five days of special leave and invited conscripts to "use this time to pray for peace. And with you the military around the world”. The prime minister of Poland, Beata Szydlo, attended the inauguration of Mercy Park at the John Paul II Centre and stressed that the "motto" of the Polish Pope - "Do not be afraid" - it is "the real antidote to so much pain tthat we see in the world ".
In a press conference that has just concluded, the WYD organizers also stated that the altar in Blonie Park - "green heart" of Krakow – is ready to host the major services celebrated by Pope Francis. 145 meters long, the stage that houses the altar is occupied by the image of "Divine Mercy" as painted by Sister Faustina Kowalska. Next to this, the portraits of the religious and Karol Wojtyla "dominated" by a 32-meter high cross.
This park will host three major events related to WYD: the welcome event for Pope Francis on July 28, the Way of the Cross the next day and finally the great concluding Mass of 31 July. Although the data has not yet been confirmed, it seems that in the end the participants will be just under two million. (VFP)