Day 15: Night vigil

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Krakow, am

There was time for pilgrims to celebrate a quiet mass in their individual bus groups before heading to Campus Misericordiae (Mercy Field) for the World Youth Day main events. Each group had the option of different ways to reach the venue.

With blisters, tiredness, and other minor ailments common by now among the pilgrims, many opted for a six-kilometre tram towards the site before walking with large crowds the final eight kilometres to section A. There pilgrims set up camp for the night. Bus 1 and Bus 2 pilgrims opted to walk the entire way along their chosen route, clocking a distance of 19 kilometres in the heat.

Water was handed out as pilgrims arrived and they could collect more from Army tents also in the section – a blessing when temperatures stayed in the mid-30-degree range throughout the day and afternoon.

The world today needs you to be pretenders to history.

– Pope Francis

There were bottlenecks at both of two stops to collect the supplied pilgrim food packages, with all nationalities queueing alongside each other late that afternoon, only to be told the food had run out. Another blessing that pilgrims had stocked up on their own food and water for the overnight stay, and Polish sausages in rolls were being sold just three gates away from where the Sydney group had set up.

Campus Misericordiae, Krakow, pm

Pope Francis urges youth not to be ‘couch potatoes’

As the sun set, pilgrims lit candles for the evening vigil. In his homily Pope Francis urged pilgrims against being apathetic or caught up in videogames and material comforts, calling “couch happiness” a silent paralysis. He continued to call for young people to live out the Gospel within their daily lives, and while embracing their individual talents.

“The truth is this, dear young people: we did not come into the world to vegetate, or to make of life a couch that puts us to sleep. We came for another purpose – to leave a mark,” he said.

“If you do not give the best of yourself the world will not change. It is a challenge. Our times do not need any more young people who are couch potatoes. The world today needs you to be pretenders to history, because life is beautiful so long as you choose to live it.”

The vigil was a highlight for many including Marist Sisters College Woolwich Year 10 students Rhiarna Koroi and Sophie Collyer, who have journeyed on Bus 9.

“Last night’s vigil was such a moving moment, especially when everybody got candles and it was dark and you could see everyone uniting for that common goal – to become one with God,” Rhiarna said.

“You could feel his presence in that atmosphere. It was quite eye-opening to be part of the vigil because things like that don’t happen every day. Pope Francis’ words really spoke to me because they weren’t demanding. He was just wanting us as young people to emphasise the message of God’s mercy, which was the whole theme of World Youth Day.”

Sophie also said the vigil had been one of the best of Krakow’s World Youth day events.

“When we were going through the divine mercy chaplet it was a really special moment because if you looked at the crowd, everyone held their candles and was in a really peaceful state,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed the World Youth Day experience and would definitely do it again.”

Campus Misericordiae, pm

There is one comment

  1. Anon

    As a representative of the bus group I would just like to make everyone aware that bus 5 also chose to embrace the full pilgrimage offer of walking all 19 kilometres there and back in the heat.


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