Pope Francis was speaking at the end of his first full day in Poland, where he is spending July 27-31 for World Youth Day. Each night when he comes back to Krakow after the day's activities, Francis is set to appear on the balcony of the local archbishop's palace to address youth gathered below.
The tradition was begun by St. John Paul II, who spoke to youth from the balcony every time he visited his homeland as Pope – had been Krakow's archbishop from 1964 until his 1978 election as Bishop of Rome. It was continued by Benedict XVI when he visited Poland in 2006, and is now being carried on by Francis.
In yesterday's encounter Francis recounted the moving story of a young student who rediscovered his faith after leaving school to volunteer for WYD in designing the banners that currently line Krakow's streets, but passed away from cancer before the event arrived. He praised the young man's faith, and encouraged the youth gathered to spread the joy of their faith in Christ throughout the city.
In his speech from the balcony Thursday, he focused on married couples, explaining that whenever he sees a young couple is getting married or has just done so, "I tell them they are the ones who have courage, because it's not easy to form a family."
"It's not easy to make a life commitment, it takes courage, and I congratulate them because they have courage," he said, noting that the three words "permission, thanks, and forgiveness" come in handy every day of married life.