Events like WYD, he said, “show to the word the unity of the church, and the strength of the youth of the world…It’s very important that people around the world can see what has happened here.”
He also voiced his hope that the young people he’s traveling with bring the fruits of this World Youth Day back home.
“I hope that the youngest of my group can live this experience and transmit all that they have learned here with their classmates and their families,” he said.
While Krakow is likely to be his last time leading a group on pilgrimage to WYD, Aquilino will “of course” participate in the Panama gathering.
In his address before reciting the Angelus, Pope Francis thanked Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow, for his service in hosting the event, and he also thanked the youth themselves for their presence and their faith.
“You filled Krakow with the contagious enthusiasm of your faith. Saint John Paul II has rejoiced from heaven, and he will help you spread the joy of the Gospel everywhere,” Francis said.
After spending several days in prayer and fraternity, the youth have received “a spiritual ‘breath of fresh air,’” he said, which will help them to “live lives of mercy once you return to your own countries and communities.”
Pope Francis pointed to an image of the Virgin Mary behind the altar which had been venerated by St. John Paul II at the Shrine of Kalwaria. Mary, he said, can show WYD participants how to make their experience “productive.”
“She tells us to do what she did: not to squander the gift you have received, but to treasure it in your heart so it can grow and bear fruit, with the help of the Holy Spirit.”
By doing this, each person, with all their faults and limitations, “can be a witness to Christ wherever you live: at home, in your parishes, in your associations and groups, and your places of study, work, service, entertainment…wherever God’s providence will lead you.”
He closed his address by asking Holy Spirit to “to enlighten and sustain” the journey of youth in the Church and throughout the world, so that they may become both disciples and witnesses of God’s mercy.
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Pilgrims from Panama celebrate as their country is announced the next host for World Youth Day! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThanksWYD?src=hash">#ThanksWYD</a> <a href="https://t.co/FpIabIvIhY">https://t.co/FpIabIvIhY</a></p>— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) <a href="https://twitter.com/cnalive/status/759688712523509760">July 31, 2016</a></blockquote>
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