Pope Francis celebrated Mass Thursday before a huge gathering of young Catholics in Krakow on the 1,050th anniversary of Poland’s “baptism” as a Catholic country. Scattered showers did little to deter the hundreds of thousands of cheering worshipers, who gathered in Krakow’s Blonia Park to hear the Pope deliver the open-air Mass.
Francis is making his first visit to the predominantly Catholic Eastern European country for World Youth Day — an event organized by the church that draws young Catholics on pilgrimages from around the world every two or three years. “Nothing is more beautiful than seeing the enthusiasm, dedication, zeal and energy with which so many young people live,” he told the crowds during Thursday’s welcoming sermon for the event. The pontiff, who traveled to the event in the southern Polish city on an ecological tram accompanied by 20 disabled youth, called on the young people gathered to have a positive impact in the world.