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Spread message of divine mercy, Krakow cardinal says at WYD opening


  • Pilgrims from the Wallis and Futuna Islands in the South Pacific take shelter during a storm at the opening Mass for World Youth Day July 26 at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • A woman prays during the opening Mass for World Youth Day July 26 at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Bishops bishops and priests attend the opening Mass for World Youth Day July 26 at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Pilgrims sing and dance in the rain prior to the opening Mass for World Youth Day July 26 at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, celebrates the opening Mass for World Youth Day July 26 at Blonia Park in Krakow. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Pilgrims carry the World Youth Day cross during the opening Mass July 26 at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

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KRAKOW, Poland (CNS) -- St. John Paul II's former secretary urged young Catholics to share their faith, experiences and hopes and spread a "message of divine mercy" worldwide during World Youth Day.

"We come from every nation under heaven, like those who came in great numbers to Jerusalem on Pentecost Day, but there are incomparably more of us now than 2,000 years ago, because we are accompanied by centuries of preaching the Gospel," Krakow Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz said during the July 26 opening Mass.

"We bring experience of various cultures, traditions and languages. But what we also bring are testimonies of faith and holiness of our brothers and sisters, followers of the risen Lord, of past generations as well as the current generation," he said.

The cardinal preached to an estimated 200,000 pilgrims from 187 countries in Krakow's Blonia Park, a day before the scheduled arrival of Pope Francis.

He said a special clock had been fitted to the front of the city's cathedral, "counting the days, hours, minutes and seconds," since 2013, when the city was announced as the venue for World Youth Day this year.

He added that Krakow was the city from where St. John Paul "set off to preach the Gospel," as well as where St. Faustina Kowalska helped spread devotion to Divine Mercy worldwide in the 20th century.

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