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Youthful face of mercy can change the world, pope tells young people


  • Dancer perform during the World Youth Day welcoming ceremony for Pope Francis in Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland, July 28. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pilgrims hold signs as Pope Francis arrives to attend the World Youth Day welcoming ceremony in Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland, July 28. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • An image of Jesus is seen as Pope Francis greets a young woman during the World Youth Day welcoming ceremony in Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland, July 28. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • World Youth Day pilgrims cheer as Pope Francis speaks during the welcoming ceremony July 28 at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to attend the World Youth Day welcoming ceremony in Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland, July 28. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • World Youth Day pilgrims wait in the rain for Pope Francis to arrive for a welcoming ceremony July 28 at Blonia Park in Krakow, Poland (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

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KRAKOW, Poland (CNS) -- The youthful face of God's mercy can change the hearts of people who have lost hope, Pope Francis said.

A young person who is touched by Christ is "capable of truly great things," the pope told thousands of young men and women July 28 at the welcoming ceremony of World Youth Day in Krakow.

"Today the church -- and I would add, the world -- looks to you and wants to learn from you, to be reassured that the father's mercy has an ever-youthful face and constantly invites us to be part of his kingdom," the pope said.

Arriving at Blonia Park in his popemobile, Pope Francis was enveloped in a sea of red, yellow and blue as pilgrims donned brightly colored ponchos to shield them from the rain.

Taking his seat on the main stage, the pope was welcomed by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow and six young men and women representing Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Africa and Australia.

After presenting the pope with a custom pilgrim's backpack, a group of young performers from around the world entertained the pope and the crowd by dancing traditional dances. The dances ranged from a young Indian woman swaying to the tune of sitar to a couple masterfully dancing to tango music.

Following the Gospel reading, the pope thanked the youth for their presence, greeting them warmly saying, "At last, we are together."

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