Yes for Christ. Yes for the Church
Tadeusz A. Janusz
Benedict XVI began the meeting with young people in Blonie Park with the following words, 'Your presence makes me happy. I thank the Lord for this cordial meeting. We know that "where two or three are gathered in the name of Jesus, he is in their midst" (cf. Mt 18:20). Today, you are much more numerous! Accordingly, Jesus is here with us. He is present among the young people of Poland, speaking to them of a house that will never collapse because it is built on the rock.' 700,000 young people turned out at Blonie and maybe the were more people: young people from all over Poland, from Germany, Byelorussia, Russia, Italy, Spain and other countries.
The young people who arrived in Krakow with their priests, nuns, catechists and educators carried placards, coloured scarves and banners followed the guided 'routes' to the Krakow commons called Blonie. At 2 pm Jan Pospieszalski began prayer. At about 18:30 pm the Holy Father arrived at Blonie. He came in his papamobile vehicle from the Wawel cathedral and was enthusiastically greeted. People cheered 'Benedetto, Dio te ha eletto' (Benedict, God has chosen you). He sat on the throne placed in front of the altar that was decorated with white flowers. In attendance were representatives of the Government with Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, Speaker of the Diet Marek Jurek, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Roman Giertych.
The ceremony was enriched by joint choirs consisted of 400 singers. In a mass of banners, flags, balloons and ensigns one could see banners with words of greeting as well as names of cities, pastoral centres, schools, etc. 'Holy Father, young people from the entire Poland greet you today. They have come here to meet Peter of our times. They have come here because they want to build their future on Peter, on the Rock' said Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz at the beginning of the meeting. 'And as a sign that they have made up their minds and have chosen Christ, Love and the Good News, they have brought stones, signed with their names', Cardinal Dziwisz emphasised and asked the youth to greet the Holy Father.
Several young people, members of the Dominican Student Centre 'Beczka', greeted the Holy Father and thanked him for having accepted the invitation and for coming to Poland. They asked Benedict XVI to be their guide in seeking out Christ's paths and help them understand anew Christ's reply to the young man, depicted in the Gospel, 'May you inspire us with courage, endurance and joy flowing from faith', they asked him.
Then they performed a three-part oratorio, depicting problems of today's youth. Each part consisted of a biblical passage, a film (tude, prayer, request and song. The motif of rock was present in every part. The short films, shown on large outdoor screens, presented a clash of views: of a young person and the world. They showed drug addicts and the difficult process of people trying to free themselves. They depicted people who helped those in need. They also presented ordinary problems of young people: lack of understanding in families, lack of time for themselves, broken relationships, problems of single mothers...
In his address, which was interrupted by applause and shouts 'Benedetto' and 'We thank you', the Holy Father encouraged the young people to build their homes on the rock, which is Christ. He explained what it meant to build on rock and spoke about obstacles and difficulties that contemporary young people can encounter with. He reminded them that nowadays 'Jesus is ignored, he is mocked' and 'He is relegated to a storeroom of questions and persons one dare not mention publicly in a loud voice.' He appealed to the young people not to be discouraged 'A strong faith must endure tests. Do not be discouraged at the sight of crumbling houses, frustrated desires and faded longings.' He appealed and asked them to build with Peter and on Peter, on the Church. 'Tu est Petrus' the young people shouted after the homily had ended.
Then the Pope blessed the young people who brought stones with their names and the names of their towns. He also blessed the cornerstone that was to become the foundation of the John Paul II Centre 'Do Not Be Afraid', together with the stones. The triangle-shaped cornerstone was made of roughly hewn black Swedish granite.
The young people offered the Holy Father a book with 40,000 declarations 'on the abstention from drugs. The text of each declarations reads: "I do not take drugs, I am free from drugs.'
At the end of the meeting the Holy Father lit his candle from the Paschal candle and the flame from his candle was passed on to the other participants of the meeting. Hundreds of thousands of lights flickered in Blonia.
The Choirs sang a song entitled 'Do not be afraid!' As the Holy Father was leaving the place the young people shouted 'Stay with us!' and 'Come to us!' Afterwards the young people participated in Holy Mass and saw films about John Paul II and Benedict XVI.