Year of Mercy

WATCH: JPII’s former secretary opens WYD at Mass with half-a-million youth

Cardinal Dziwisz asks young people to reflect on Christ's questions to them

Cardinal Stanislas Dziwisz, the archbishop of Krakow, officially opened World Youth Day 2016 today with a Mass celebrated at Blonia Park.

During his homily, he told the 500,000 young people gathered:

Today, Christ speaks to us in Krakow, at the banks of the Wisła river, which flows through all of Poland – from the mountains to the sea. Peter’s experience may become ours and inspire us to reflect. Let us pose three questions and look for the answers. First, where do we come from? Second, where are we today, in this moment of our lives? And third, where are we going to go and what are we going to take with us?

And here are some WYD pictures you will not see anywhere else!

Wojciech Grzędziński, a laureate of World Press Photo, is on the ground in Krakow bringing to Aleteia daily photo coverage of the WYD events.

The 31st WYD has already congregated hundreds of thousands of youth from across the globe in Poland.

Of course, the Pope doesn’t arrive till tomorrow, but #WYD2016 officially began today with opening Mass and ceremonies presided over by Krakow’s archbishop, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz.

Pilgrims from France, Spain, USA, Canada, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Panama and dozens of others countries give Krakow the sense that it’s bursting at the seams. Within this crowd, Wojciech Grzędziński was roving with the camera.

I met up with him in one of the cafes next to Old Town in Krakow. This is the best place to hide and catch your breath, Wojciech explained, as here you will find good coffee and Internet signal. Probably without those two things, no journalist could survive these days …

We shared tips on the best forums for the events and the most intriguing people and places, as well as where to register for this or that activity. Some time after our meeting, I got a message from Wojciech, with the pictures from this afternoon.

Here they are: