KRAKOW, Poland (CNS) — Pope Francis thanked World Youth Day organizers and volunteers and urged them to be “the hope of the future.”
“I had a speech of five pages — but it’s boring,” Pope Francis said in Spanish, setting aside his prepared remarks.
“Do you want to be the hope for the future? Well, there’s no need to pay an entry fee — you just have to meet some conditions. The first is to preserve your memory: of your people, your family and where you come from, the memory of your journey and what you received from those closest to you. A young person without a memory isn’t a hope for the future.”
He thanked more than 15,000 organizers and volunteers gathered at Tauron Arena for their “hours of prayer.” He also thanked the estimated 50,000 priests and religious order members who had accompanied pilgrims from around the world to the festival.
“How do we have a memory? It’s by talking to our parents and elders, and especially with our grandparents. If we want to be the hope of the future, we have to receive the torch from our grandfathers and their grandfathers,” Pope Francis said.
“But the second condition for the future of hope, aside from memory of the past, is to have courage — to be courageous, not fearful.”
The pope also prayed briefly before an image of Our Lady of Calvary, an image closely associated with St. John Paul II.
He also heard testimonies from four volunteers, including Michal Ciesla, whose brother, Maciej, a graphic artist, died of cancer July 2 after volunteering to help at the festival, and Cristian Gregorio Ruiz Luque, a volunteer from Panama. Earlier, Pope Francis announced Panama as the venue for World Youth Day in 2019.
Ruiz told Pope Francis he believed the experience of volunteering was a way of “growing in holiness through a witness of mercy,” adding that he had also tried to follow the pope’s call to “make a stir.”
Pope Francis praised Maciej Ciesla for having “sowed hope” by having “the courage to continue fighting even in the worst conditions.”
“Preparing a World Youth Day is an adventure — people laugh, work, do things and are then dismissed, but the adventure is one of generosity,” the pope told organizers and volunteers.
“I do not know if I will be in Panama — but Peter will be in Panama, and he will ask you if you kept your memory, your courage and your hope.”
The pope, who asked young participants to pray for him, left Krakow’s John Paul II International Airport aboard a LOT Polish Airlines 787 Dreamliner, without making a departure speech.
A military band at the airport, which was soaked with streams and puddles after a heavy afternoon rain, played Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way” and “We Are the Champions” by British pop group Queen.
Poland’s Catholic information agency, KAI, said the bad weather delayed the pontiff’s departure by “at least an hour” and disrupted the planned airport ceremony.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103