Today we see the Pope!!
It was an early rise for breakfast to be ready to leave at 8am.We all jumped on a tram ready for an exhausting yet exhilarating day. We sang, we cheered and waved our flags all the way to the Tauron Arena for our second day of Catechesis.
Joining the crowds, we couldhear the joy and excitement radiating from the arena. While waiting in the queues, we started dancing along to the music going on inside.
We finally got seatedamongst the thousands of other pilgrims.We heard an amazing testimony from a young couplecalled Anna and Scott Powell about theirlives andhowthey went from’Marriage Mission’ to ‘Family Mission’after they found out they couldn’t have children of their own – by the grace ofGod they were given the opportunity to adopt two children.
Next upwas an engagingand amusing testimony from Cardinal Tagle from the Philippines including a clever rendition of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’. Finally was a Q and A session with the Cardinalandshorttestimonies from young people about how Jesushad touched their lives.
The group then went their separate ways to take in the different things that have been going around Krakow during World Youth Day and reconvened at Campus Misericordia for the Opening Ceremony with Pope Francis.
We have been able to listen to translations of the Masses on FM radio, so we have been able to follow more clearly what is being said (although we are fairly versed in the Latin!).
We didn’t have a particularly good view of the stage so had to rely on the nearest screen to see what was going on. Before the Ceremony began, there was a lot of cheering and dancing in the crowds to keep everyone’s spirits up. Dance performances from each continent were taken in before the Gospel was brought up and Pope Francis was presented with a white pilgrim backpack.
We had a long walk back to the hotel, and were very glad to be resting our feet afterwards and unwinding before bed.
This morning we started with morning prayer led by Edrich, followed by breakfast and then set off for the John Paul Sanctuary and Divine Mercy Sanctuary. Due to the popularity of both sites, groups have been allocated different days to visit. Regardless, both places were particularly busy and we tried to take in as much of each place as we could.
Inside the John Paul II Centre, there were many small chapels with different paintings and images from scripture on the walls and ceilings. Moving on to the Divine Mercy shrine dedicated to Saint Faustina Kowalska, Bishop Alan and Fr Padraig met us at the shrine and Bishop Alan concelebrated Mass with Monsignor Eugene, Fr Adam, Fr Michael and Fr Henry in the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
It was an important moment, to be praying in the home of Divine Mercy, although stifling and our song sheets got more use as fans than for following the words.
We managed to get a look inside the Chapel where Saint Faustina would have prayed during her earthly life. After we had a look around, we congregated to pray the Stations of the Cross before getting a late lunch and heading in different directions, some back to the hotel for rest, some to the city centre and some to join the Stations of the Cross at Campus Misericordia.
Tomorrow the group is setting off very early to join with the two million other pilgrims for the Vigil Mass with Pope Francis.
See below for a full picture gallery of the East Anglia WYD trip.