CS PHOTO BY JACLYN LIPPELMANN
Pilgrims from Mexico hold candles as they participate in the July 30 prayer vigil at World Youth Day, led by Pope Francis at the Field of Mercy in Kraków.
CS PHOTO BY JACLYN LIPPELMANN Pilgrims from Mexico hold candles as they participate in the July 30 prayer vigil at World Youth Day, led by Pope Francis at the Field of Mercy in Kraków.
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On July 30, the pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Washington began their day with a Mass in the World Youth Day Mercy Centre, celebrated by U.S. bishops. In his homily, Bridgeport Bishop Frank Caggiano spoke about how the young people could live “extraordinary lives of mercy.” He told the pilgrims to see their sisters and brothers in need not as problems to be solved, but as people to be loved. He also advised them to pray to the Holy Spirit to be saints and hear the cries of the poor.

After the Mass, the pilgrims began their journey to Campus Misericordiae, or “The Field of Mercy,” where they would attend a prayer vigil and spend the night before the closing Mass. They took two trams, and walked the last mile to the site of the overnight vigil. The walking was done amidst music, singing, and even the water from a garden hose as a local man helped cool them off.

Pope Francis arrived at Campus Misericordiae and walked through the Holy Gates accompanied by a diverse group of pilgrims. He opened the vigil with a prayer, that “once and for all, may we realize that nothing justifies shedding the blood of a brother or sister.” The pope also said, “Nothing is more precious than the person next to us.” He invited the pilgrims to join hands and pray in silence. An estimated 1,600,000 pilgrims were there to pray together and held candles that flickered as the sun set and darkness descended on the crowd.

Pope Francis asked the pilgrims to blaze trails that open up new horizons capable of spreading joy born of God’s love. He also admitted that following Jesus demands a good dose of courage.

“God expects something from you. God wants something from you. God hopes in you,” said the pope.

He told the pilgrims, “We adults need you to show us how to live in diversity, in dialogue,” and “Jesus is calling you to leave your mark on history.”

The service at Campus Misericordiae closed with a song, that included the lyrics, “For I believe in the name of Jesus – I believe in love eternal.”