They had been arriving in Warsaw for the past few days by different means of transport. They had gotten to know their temporary parishes, but first of all the people involved in them. Thursday evening, WYD pilgrims met in Piłsudskiego Suqare in Warsaw, a colorful mosaic from the entire world, for the concert “Faith, Hope, Love,” which officially launched the Days in the Dioceses.
When I was on my way to meet this crowd, I saw the following highlights of the event venue: a tall white cross commemorating John Paul II’s first pilgrimage to Poland of 1979, the Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity with a magnificent unmistakable dome, and farther off the Palace of Culture and Science, a symbol of communist times, adored by some and abhorred by many others.
Faith, ecumenism, history.
If not for Jesus, there would be no WYD. If not for Him, a few thousand people would not meet this evening in Piłsudskiego Square. With medals and crosses around their necks, with rosaries wound around their wrists, in habits or cassocks, the youth manifest their faith openly and joyfully. These people come from different worlds, different cultures, are often scarred by the frequently painful histories of their homelands, yet, despite the differences, they are capable of uniting within a single, large and joyous family.
It was here, in this place, that John Paul II spoke the famous words: “May Your Spirit descend and renew the face of the earth, of this land.” I sensed that this prayer somehow “descends” on the varicolored dancing crowd and that what is at stake is no longer the Polish land, but the entire world, torn by so many misfortunes. The openness and warmth of these young people is incontrovertible proof that Christianity is a very real path towards fraternity, unity and peace, and that they are truly a hope of the world.