In preparation for the World Youth Day taking place in 2016, which focuses on the theme “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy, Archbishop of Krakow (Poland), Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz said that Krakow’s role in the Divine Mercy devotion could mean lots of good things for World Youth Day this year.
The World Youth Day for decades now has become a powerful instrument of evangelization of young people and a wonderful opportunity for dialogue between the Church and the younger generations. This spiritual adventure has already mobilized millions of young people from all continents.
“Krakow is the center of the devotion to the Merciful Jesus, and the same Jesus said that from here a fire will go out to prepare the whole world for the meeting with Jesus," the cardinal told CNA March 18.
“I think it important to take up this fire and give it to the whole world," said the polish prelate who was a long-time and influential aide to Pope John Paul II.
The former personal secretary to Pope John Paul II spoke with CNA about his expectations for the event.
He reflected on how the unique prayer of Divine Mercy blossomed in Krakow. The devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ was associated with the reputed mystical apparitions revealed to Saint Faustina Kowalska. Sister Faustina Kowalska was granted the title “Secretary of Mercy” by the Holy See in the Jubilee Year of 2000.
St. Maria Faustina, consumed by tuberculosis and by innumerable sufferings died in Krakow at the age of just 33 on October 5, 1938. On April 18, 1993 our Holy Father, John Paul II raised St. Faustina to the glory of the altars. She was canonized on April 30, 2000.
The feast of Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated the Sunday after Easter and in an entry in her diary, St. Faustina stated that anyone who participates in the Mass and receives the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist on this day is assured by Jesus of full remission of their sins and punishments.
The prelate observed that this awareness of the Divine Mercy experience continues under Pope Francis. The upcoming World Youth Day takes place within the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
In his message for the 2016 World Youth Day, the Holy Father remarked that the theme of the 31st World Youth Day places the event in the heart of the Holy Year of Mercy, and this makes it “a Youth Jubilee at world level".
Pope John Paul II had once said: “Apart from the mercy of God there is no other source of hope for mankind”.
Cardinal Dziwisz emphasized the significance of World Youth Day’s Krakow venue. He noted that the gathering will take place in the city associated with both Saint John Paul II and Saint Faustina Kowalska, the two great “apostles of mercy of our times".
“St. Faustina wrote that the world will not achieve peace if people will not rely on the Merciful Jesus," he said.
“The fact that the whole world is in Krakow, during the Year of Mercy, is very important. Especially nowadays, when peace is in danger. We must fight for peace, and so this meeting will have this aim: to live peace here, and to bear peace to the world," the cardinal added.
Cardinal Dziwisz also noted that Krakow is a link between Eastern and Western Europe.
“We are open to welcome also young people coming from the Orthodox Churches," he said.
Cardinal Dziwisz added that he expects the World Youth Day “will be lived in an atmosphere of friendship. In Europe there are still many curtains, many barriers…but always, young people change when they meet the Pope."