(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ recent visit to Poland for the 31st World Youth Day was the subject of his Wednesday General Audience, his first after the summer break.
During the Aug. 3 audience, which was held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, the Pope described the international youth gathering as a “mosaic of fraternity and a joyful response to the challenge of the Gospel.”
He also reflected on the Europe’s Christian heritage, as exemplified by the cultural and spirituality of Poland.
Below, please find the official English-language summary of Pope Francis’ catechesis, which was delivered in Italian.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: My recent Pastoral Visit to Poland for World Youth Day took place twenty-five years after the historic visit of Saint John Paul II following the fall of the Iron Curtain. Poland, Europe and the world have changed greatly since then, but the young continue to be a prophetic sign of hope for the future. Waving the flags of their respective countries, they formed a mosaic of fraternity and a joyful response to the challenge of the Gospel. Poland, with its rich cultural and spiritual heritage, today reminds us that Europe has no future apart from its founding values, centred on the Christian vision of man and including the message of mercy expressed so eloquently in the last century by Saints John Paul and Faustina Kowalska. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, in silence, I pondered all that happened there, remembered the victims, and sensed the mercy of God that made itself felt even in that abyss of evil. Remembrance serves as a warning and a charge for our own time, so torn by conflicts, hatred and violence. I thank all those who made possible this visit, which offered a sign of fraternity and peace to Poland, Europe and the world.