By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis will visit the Nazi
death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau during his visit to Poland for World
Youth Day in Krakow.
He will also commemorate the 1,050th anniversary of
Christianity in Poland, pray at the icon of the “Black Madonna” of
Czestochowa, and hear confessions and have lunch with some of the young
people attending the youth day gathering.
The pope’s visit July 27-31 will be his 15th trip outside
of Italy. He will visit three cities, give eight speeches and celebrate three
Pope Francis will be visiting Auschwitz the year that
marks the 75th anniversary of the death of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who offered
his life for another prisoner at the camp during World War II. The official WYD
website, krakow2016.com, said the pope is expected to meet with camp survivors
and pray alone in the bunker where Father Kolbe had been locked up.
While the pope will be meeting with Polish government
authorities as well as bishops and religious from Poland, the focus of his
visit will be the closing events of World Youth Day, which has the theme:
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”
Pope Francis will visit the Shrine of Divine Mercy in
Krakow and walk through its Holy Door of Mercy. Local organizers said he may
pray before the tomb of St. Faustina Kowalska, who is buried there.
The 2016 WYD celebration will mark the 30th anniversary
of when St. John Paul II, the former archbishop of Krakow, invited bishops all
over the world to hold an annual event for youth in their dioceses. The first
international gathering, now held every two or three years, was in 1987 in
Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Pope Francis was born and ministered before becoming pope.
In Krakow, the pope will visit a pediatric hospital, lead
a Way of the Cross with young people and hold a prayer vigil the evening before
the closing Mass of World Youth Day, which is expected to draw more than 1
million people, according to some government officials.
Here is the detailed schedule released by the Vatican.
All times are local, with Eastern Daylight Time in parentheses:
Wednesday, July 27 (Rome, Krakow)
— 2 p.m. (8 a.m.) Departure from Rome’s Fiumicino
— 4 p.m. (10 a.m.) Arrival at John Paul II International
Airport in Krakow-Balice. Welcoming ceremony.
— 5 p.m. (11 a.m.) Meeting with government authorities
and the diplomatic corps in the courtyard of Wawel Royal Castle in Krakow.
Speech by pope.
— 5:40 p.m. (11:40 p.m.) Courtesy visit with President
Andrzej Duda of Poland at Wawel Castle.
— 6:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m.) Meeting with Polish bishops in
Krakow’s cathedral. Speech by pope.
Thursday, July 28 (Krakow, Czestochowa, Krakow)
— 7:40 a.m. (1:40 a.m.) Transfer by car to airport with
a stop at the Convent of the Sisters of the Presentation.
— 8:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m.) Transfer by helicopter to
— 9:45 a.m. (3:45 a.m.) Arrival at the Jasna Gora
Monastery in Czestochowa and prayer in the chapel of the “Black
— 10:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m.) Mass near the shrine to mark
the 1,050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland. Homily by pope.
— 12:45 p.m. (6:45 a.m.) Transfer by helicopter to
— 5:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m.) Welcoming ceremony at gathering
with young people in Blonia Park. Speech by pope.
Friday, July 29 (Krakow, Oswiecim, Krakow)
— 8:45 a.m. (2:45 a.m.) Transfer by helicopter to
— 9:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m.) Visit to Auschwitz.
— 10:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m.) Visit to Birkenau extermination
camp. Speech by pope.
— 11:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m.) Transfer by helicopter to
— 4:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m.) Visit to University Children’s
Hospital. Speech by pope.
— 6 p.m. (noon) Way of the Cross with youth in Blonia
Park. Speech by pope.
Saturday, July 30 (Krakow)
— 8:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m.) Visit to the Divine Mercy
— 9 a.m. (3 a.m.) Walk through the Holy Door of Mercy.
— 9:15 a.m. (3:15 a.m.) Hearing confessions of young
people in the shrine.
— 10:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m.) Mass with priests, men and
women religious, consecrated persons and seminarians from Poland in the St.
John Paul II Shrine. Homily by pope.
— 12:45 p.m. (6:45 a.m.) Lunch with young people in the
— 7 p.m. (1 p.m.) Arrival at “Campus
Misericordiae” (“Field of Mercy”) and walk through the Holy Door
with a small group of young people.
— 7:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.) Prayer vigil with youth at the
“Field of Mercy.” Speech by pope.
Sunday, July 31 (Krakow, Rome)
— 10 a.m. (4 a.m.) Mass at the “Field of
Mercy” to mark World Youth Day. Homily and Angelus by pope.
— 5 p.m. (11 a.m.) Meeting with WYD volunteers, the
local organizing committee and benefactors at the Tauron Arena. Speech by pope.
— 6:15 p.m. (12:15 p.m.) Farewell ceremony at the
— 6:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m.) Departure from the
— 8:25 p.m. (2:25 p.m.) Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino
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