Day 4 Updates from WYD Kraków
Lord make me an instrument of your mercy
Since opening its doors to pilgrims on Tuesday, July 26, Mercy Centre at Tauron Arena Kraków has become “the meeting place” for English-speaking pilgrims from around the world.
“It’s truly a spiritual home for so many kids this week,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
One of Friday’s main catechists at the Mercy Centre, Cardinal Dolan opened his talk with a prayer: Lord make me an instrument of your mercy.
To the 18,000 in attendance, he expressed how honored and joyful he was to be at the Knights of Columbus-sponsored Mercy Centre: “Thank you to the Knights of Columbus who have been so generous in their hospitality. Thank you to the Sisters of Life, the Dominicans and the USCCB.”
He reminded the youth of the gratitude they owe all the priests and religious who have brought mercy to their lives or challenged them in other ways. He also thanked all the youth in attendance — many from his archdiocese.
“My brothers and sisters,” he said, “stand up. We love you. Young people, you need to know how much we [priests and religious] love you and are proud of you. You are an inspiration.”
During his catechesis, he reflected on Christ’s resurrection, describing the fear and guilt that overcame the Apostles, knowing they had left Jesus in his time of need.
“They were scared, laden with sin. They were frustrated and filled with doubt,” he said.
“When they behold Jesus, he does not reprimand them. Instead, he offers them peace,” the cardinal explained. “It’s the relief of consolation, a type of consolation that only the Holy Spirit can bring.”
On Jesus’ forgiveness, Cardinal Dolan said, “He offers them mercy and shows them that despite their own wounds, they will be sent out to do God’s work as instruments of his mercy.”
“This, folks,” he added, “didn’t just happen on the first Easter Sunday. It is happening now.”
In keeping with Friday’s theme of “The Cross,” Christina Shabo, a young Iraqi woman, talked about the strife and hardships her fellow Iraqis share in their war-torn country. Recounting how her parents fled Iraq just three months before her birth, she reflected how mercy and forgiveness are possible even after the recent acts of terrorism.
“It’s hard not to be angry. But in sitting before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I realized that all things are possible — even forgiveness for those who have attacked and hurt you,” she said, to a standing ovation.
Sister Gaudia Skass of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, the order to which St. Faustina belonged, echoed the same message.
“Everything that Jesus did was giving his life for others- everything was about mercy,” she said as she stood against a backdrop of the Divine Mercy image.
“How do we imitate Christ?” asked Sr. Gaudia. “By giving our lives in mercy, always in mercy. The cross is your invitation: are you brave enough to choose mercy?”
Later that afternoon, pilgrims made their way to Blonia Meadow Park to participate in the Way of the Cross with Pope Francis.
A traditional component of World Youth Days, this year’s living Via Crucis was written by Kraków’s Auxiliary Bishop Grzegorz Rys. It was centered on the mercy that God extends to mankind, and the mercy that we must offer to others.
People of all nationalities and ages carried the wooden cross through the park, as video productions on works of mercy, connected to each station theme, played on large screens throughout the city. From the elevation of the cross to the play of light illustrating Christ’s merciful heart, the powerful music and theatrics offered pilgrims a true sense of the sacred.