Rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of about 200,000 pilgrims who attended the World Youth Day opening Mass celebrated by Polish Cardinal Stanislav Dziwisz on July 26.
Pilgrims from 187 different countries walked in the downpour to the open-air Mass at Blonia Park, with the rain clearing shortly before Mass began.
Australian pilgrims walked in to hear a video message about Pope Francis’ dream to have 1 million or more young people around the world live out the Gospel message in their daily lives, renewing the Catholic faith. Cardinal Dziwisz, a long-time secretary to John Paul II, echoed the message in his words to pilgrims. These he recited in Polish, English, and Italian, also offering a welcome in other languages including Spanish, French and German.
“You have come from all continents,” he said. “You bring with you many experiences. You bring many desires. You speak numerous languages. But starting today we are going to communicate with each other in the language of the Gospel – the language of love, brotherhood, solidarity and peace.”
The sun cut through the clouds for a brief moment during Mass, casting a warm glow on pilgrims as they offered each other the sign of peace.
Pilgrims’ next Mass will be the Papal welcome on July 28.