The Chopin Airport in the colors of World Youth Day

Kamil Szumotalski
International pilgrims arrive at Warsaw's Chopin Airport for World Youth Day 2016

Pilgrims from around the world have arrived in Warsaw on more than 50 airliners

An early afternoon review of the news on Twitter led me to a message from the Archdiocese of Warsaw: the World Youth Day atmosphere is most palpable at Warsaw’s Chopin Airport.

I grabbed a camera and headed on over there.

A rosary hanging from the taxi’s rear-view mirror emboldened me to raise the topic of World Youth Day. The driver, visibly enjoying the moment, started telling me about the events scheduled to take place in and around Warsaw.

I had hardly gotten out of the taxi in front of the arrivals hall when I heard pilgrims’ voices. The terminal was abuzz. Volunteers dressed in distinctive t-shirts awaited guests. Whenever new groups of young people walked in, the terminal exploded. They were only explosions of laughter and joy. Still, police and border guard officers were everywhere, armed to the teeth, carefully scanning all those gathered at the entrance to the terminal.

Young people from every corner of the world embraced one another, and linguistic or cultural barriers disappeared. I saw groups from Canada, Colombia, Kazakhstan, and Honduras arriving. According to the Archdiocese of Warsaw Press Office, 27 planes with WYD pilgrims landed on Tuesday alone. Actually, a giant WYD logo could easily be emblazoned across the entire arrivals board.

At this port of entry to the homeland of St. John Paul II, the festival of young people has already begun.

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