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In John Paul II's country

· Young people greet the announcement of the next WYD with great enthusiasm ·

Krakow will be the venue of the next WYD in 2016, which after the extraordinary Cariocan experience is resuming the preceding three-yearly plan. The Day will thus return to its origins in remembrance of John Paul II. Pope Francis made this announcement on Sunday morning, on the dais at Copacabana, while presiding at the conclusive celebration of the 28th World Day. A wave of applause for Pope Wojtyła, inventor of these meetings of the new generations with the Successor of Peter,  immediately broke from the human sea gathered on the beach – estimated at three million. His relic had been taken to the altar and set beside the little statue of Our Lady of Aparecida.

The family of Ruhama, the small anencephalic child carried in her fathers arms during the Offertory procession, is deeply devoted to John Paul II, who will shortly be canonized. This little mite weighing barely three kilos – while her twin brother already weighs eight – with her 17 months and a will to live has shattered many scientific certainties, since as a rule none of those afflicted by this serious congenital malformation even survive birth: the survival rate is one in a thousand, and doctors advise therapeutic abortion.

The fatherly caress of Pope Francis was for her. The Pope celebrated Mass after walking for the fourth time along Avenida Atlantica, the ocean promenade, through the immense crowd of young pilgrims.

Since the Guaratiba area had proved to be impracticable On the previous evening Copacabana had also hosted the traditional Prayer Vigil. With extraordinary speed the organizers succeeded in moving the conclusive events of the WYD to the beach. Lit up by thousands of colours it looked like a cathedral under the open sky, between the strip of sand and the Ocean that was slightly calmer than on the previous rainy days. At the wish of the Archdiocese and the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro, homes for 20,000 of the poor are to be constructed in  the“Campus Fidei”. In addition, the 33m high cross built on the great papal podium will remain as a sign recalling this unforgettable Day for Brazil and for Latin America.




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 17, 2020