The final preparations are underway in Krakow for World Youth Day which begins on 26 July. While the city prepares for Pope Francis, the finishing touches are being made to many of the areas the Pope will visit over the course of the celebration. Dorata Abdelmoula is the spokesperson for World Youth Day (WYD) in Krakow
“All over Krakow we can already see that World Youth Day is approaching”, Dorata says, adding that everything is almost ready at Campus Misericordia where Pope Francis will celebrate the final Mass. She says, “it’s not very sophisticated because we’re trying to maintain the spirituality of Pope Francis, it’s a pretty simple construction but a I think a beautiful one.” Another theme, she notes which is very much in evidence is the Divine Mercy “and the spiritual heart of this World Youth Day will be the Shrine of the Divine Mercy.”
Young people are coming from all over the world to participate in this youth event and Dorata says apart from the registrations they have already received, they are expecting a last minute influx into the city.
“Up to now we have got more than 560,000 registered pilgrims who have declared their presence. For the opening Mass we expect about 500.000 pilgrims…and then the number will increase, we expect about 800,000 for the Way of the Cross on Friday, about 1 million pilgrims for the vigil of the Holy Father at Campus Misericordia and between 1.5 million and 1.8m pilgrims for the final Mass.”
The terrible events recently in Nice as well as in Brussels and Paris have highlighted the need for vigilance at major events. The WYD spokesperson stressed that security is a top priority and vetting procedures have been thorough for World Youth Day. “From the very beginning we are also preparing all the World Youth Day events as well in the diocese as here in Krakow with the great help of our government, of the local authorities of all the national and international security services.” She goes on to says that, “after all those tragic events in Europe, not only the number of pilgrims didn’t decrease, but also we have felt more solidarity among young people. We have received so many heartwarming declarations from all over the world that young people feel even more invited to gather to testify their faith…”
Information and assistance for pilgrims
Regarding information and assistance for those who are coming as tourists as well as pilgrims, help is at hand in the form of many volunteers giving their time during the event. “Volunteers are eager to help and eager to give all the logistic and practical information,” says Dorata, and she adds that “almost every single diocese has got an account on social media but also a website. In Krakow itself there is an app available and there will be many information points throughout the city run by volunteers.”
World Youth Day runs from 26-3 July 2016. 1600 Irish pilgrims are already on their way to Krakow to be part of this year’s World Youth Day event.
Source: Vatican Radio