Knights of Columbus to Host Mercy Centre at Tauron Arena Kraków for English-Speaking Pilgrims at World Youth Day 2016
The Knights of Columbus will host Mercy Centre, the international English-language catechetical and youth festival site at the Tauron Arena Kraków, July 26-31, offering pilgrims an inspirational program of events as part of their World Youth Day 2016 experience in Kraków, Poland.
Over 40,000 U.S. pilgrims have registered to travel to Poland to take part in the Year of Mercy’s Jubilee for young people ages 18 to 35 at the 31st World Youth Day which returns to Poland on the country’s 1,050th anniversary of Christianity.
The Kraków World Youth Day also marks 25 years since World Youth Day 1991 in Częstochowa, which began Knights of Columbus participation in and support of the international event. The Order’s involvement in Kraków also highlights the 10th anniversary of the K of C presence in Poland, where there are now over 4,000 Knights in 80 councils around the country.
All pilgrims are welcome to participate in events at the K of C Mercy Centre from July 26-31. Events include catechesis, faith testimonies of married couples on the beauty and dignity of marriage, testimonies from past WYD attendees, witnesses to the persecuted Church, daily Mass, Eucharistic adoration, Confession and presentations.
Mercy Centre pilgrims will have the opportunity to venerate the relics of several saints, and learn models of sanctity through Kraków’s own City of Saints that inspired a young Karol Wojtyła , today’s St. John Paul II, to pursue his own vocation. Exhibitions at the Mercy Centre will also include the Divine Mercy, the history of Christianity in Poland, Pope John Paul II and Solidarity, and Auschwitz. Also available will be a vocations café and exhibit on the diocesan priesthood.
In keeping with Pope Francis’ call to be instruments of God’s mercy and the WYD 2016 theme, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy,” programs and events at the Mercy Centre will highlight various aspects of living out Divine Mercy. Pilgrims will be reminded that Christian life is a gift that comes from God and leads one to a personal encounter and knowledge of his mercy. The experience of God’s mercy fills one with gratitude, spurring acts of charity and leading to a discovery of one’s vocation through a sincere gift of self.
The bishops’ conferences of the United States, Canada and Australia will also host their national gatherings at the Mercy Centre. The Mercy Centre at Tauron Arena Krakow, located in the Polish Aviators Park just under 2.5 miles from Kraków’s Main Square, is the largest entertainment and sports venue in Poland, with seating for more than 20,000 people in three levels.
Joining the Knights in co-sponsoring the Mercy Centre are the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and the Sisters of Life. St. Faustina Kowalska, called the secretary of the Divine Mercy and co-patron of the 2016 World Youth Day, belonged to the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. The Sisters of Life, celebrating the 25th anniversary of their founding in 1991 by the late Cardinal John O’Connor, previously partnered with the Knights of Columbus to sponsor centers for English-speaking pilgrims during World Youth Day Sydney 2008 and World Youth Day Madrid 2011.
Also partnering with the Knights at the Mercy Centre are Salt + Light Television, Holy Cross Family Ministries, the Dominican Liturgical Institute, the National Conference of Religious Vocations Directors (NCRVD) and the National Council of Diocesan Vocations Directors (NCDVD).
Dozens of college Knights from around the world will attend the event, arriving in Poland a few days before the main events to participate in a pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. John Paul II. They will join several hundred K of C volunteers from Poland, Ukraine, Mexico and the United States to assist the Mercy Centre pilgrims. For more information, visit wydenglishsite.org.