(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday had lunch with a dozen young people serving as volunteers for World Youth Day in the Polish city of Krakow.
The private encounter took place in the residence of the Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, following a morning Mass for priests and religious in the shrine dedicated to the Polish pope, Saint John Paul II.
The young men and women invited to join the Pope for lunch came from all the different continents and included representatives from New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Italy, Columbia, as well as the host nation, Poland. After the meal, they invited him to pose for a selfie with them as a souvenir of this very special occasion.
Each one of them was able to ask Pope Francis a question, to which he replied with the help of an interpreter. Speaking at a press conference after the meal, one of the volunteers said she asked him how he felt following his election to the pontificate in March 2013, to which he replied: ``I felt a bit of peace, and I haven't lost this peace.'' Another young woman asked Francis for some advice and his answer was: ``Don't give up hope”, adding that it’s important for young people to be themselves “in these times, these crucial moments.''
After lunch, the Pope took some time to rest at the residence, ahead of a prayer vigil with young people in the Campus Misericordiae or Field of Mercy venue on the outskirts of Krakow. The venue contains two new charitable centres, a day care for the elderly and a storage building for food parcels donated by local parishes for those most in need. Both buildings were constructed as a permanent reminder of the theme for this year’s World Youth Day, taken from St Matthew’s Gospel: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’.