If you want to get to know John Paul II, you need to go to Krakow


 “If you want to get to know John Paul II, you need to go to Krakow, the city where he was bishop for twenty years”. It was with these words that Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, opened the proceedings on the day dedicated to WYD in Krakow. Cardinal Rylko had been close to the Pope who conceived the idea of World Youth Day.

“In Rome in 1984 a pilgrimage began that would journey throughout the world. It would reach every continent, and now it is going to the city where in a certain sense it all began”. These were the words of another person who knew John Paul II very well, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow. He spoke on “the significance of WYD for the diocese of Krakow”. He explained why John Paul II related to young people so profoundly. It was a time of ideological oppression, but through it he had a prophetic intuition. Karol Wojtyla had seen the depths of human annihilation, and he was able to envisage alternative ways to win back young people from that route. How were young people influenced by this saint on their path to personal maturity? So many of them had gathered beneath the window of the apostolic palace in order to accompany him at the moment of his transit to meet the Redeemer. How does World Youth Day with its apostolic and missionary outreach show us the virtuous qualities of that pontiff? We cannot deny that the most pronounced characteristic of the next WYD seems to be the ideal of holiness. We are returning to the source of the inspiration for WYD in order to reactivate the parishes, encourage the movements to open up and come out of themselves, to reach out to young people who do not move in our circles, to give particular attention to the poor, to help bishops and young people to know each other better, to give impetus to vocations, and to put a Christian stamp on our era.

Bishop Henryk Tomasik spoke on behalf of the Polish Bishops’ Conference in presenting the Church in Poland today. This Church, with the example of Sister Faustina and in following the path recommended by Pope Francis for the next WYD, would like to be a campus misericordiae for the young pilgrims who come to visit in 2016.

The Krakow Local Organising Committee (COL) was then presented. The president is Cardinal Dziwisz, the general coordinator is Bishop Damian Muskus, and the executive director is Rev. Robert Tyrala.

A good part of the day was spent on the organisational aspects of WYD. Delegates took the opportunity to speak about issues of all kinds and to share past experiences in order to facilitate young people everywhere in their preparation for the next WYD.

During his homily at the Mass on that day, Cardinal Dziwisz pointed to the relic of John Paul II which was present in the chapel. He said that young people influenced the way that Pope John Paul II lived out his petrine ministry.

If you want to get to know John Paul II, you need to go to Krakow

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On 1 September 2016 the

Pontifical Council for the Laity
ceased its activities.
Its responsibilities and duties
have been taken over by the
Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.