The theme of the XXXI World Youth Day Krakow 2016 is: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’ (Mt 5:7). Our Holy Father Francis has chosen the fifth of the eight Beatitudes, given by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, to show the importance of the Beatitudes which are at the heart of Jesus’ teaching. In his first Sermon, Jesus presents us with eight examples of qualities that bring us closer to the Kingdom of God.
The choice of Krakow and World Youth Day’s motto lead us to the Spark of Mercy. Since the appearance of Jesus to St. Sister Faustina, Mercy has been radiating from Krakow-Lagiewniki to the whole universal Church. Krakow is widely known as the centre of worship of God’s mercy, and young pilgrims who come will surely want to see the place of the revelations, Sister Faustina’s tomb, and the shrine – the place where St. John Paul II entrusted the world to God’s Mercy.
It’s worth noting that the fifth Beatitude sums up the first two years of Pope Francis’ pontificate as well. During that time he has striven to show the Church God’s love towards man and the necessity of being merciful to each other.
At a meeting with young Argentinians in Rio, Pope Francis advised: ‘Read the Beatitudes, it will do you good.’ Our task is to re-read the message of the Beatitudes. For three consecutive years, the Pope has chosen for us three out of the eight Beatitudes as the themes for the WYDs. Each one is elaborated on in his addresses, in which he comments on theological matters and gives the youth some tasks for the next year of spiritual work.
“God, merciful Father, in your Son, Jesus Christ, you have revealed your love and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, We entrust to you today the destiny of the world and of every man and woman”. We entrust to you in a special way young people of every language, people and nation: guide and protect them as they walk the complex paths of the world today and give them the grace to reap abundant fruits from their experience of the Krakow World Youth Day. Heavenly Father, grant that we may bear witness to your mercy. Teach us how to convey the faith to those in doubt, hope to those who are discouraged, love to those who feel indifferent, forgiveness to those who have done wrong and joy to those who are unhappy. Allow the spark of merciful love that you have enkindled within us become a fire that can transform hearts and renew the face of the earth. Mary, Mother of Mercy, pray for us. Saint John Paul II, pray for us. Saint Faustina, pray for us.
World Youth Day in Krakow gathered about 2 million people from around the world. The post-event surveys revealed outstandingly positive reviews, almost 97% of people surveyed gave the event a "very good" or "excellent" score admitting that they would recommend World Youth Day to their friends and family. A large fraction of people admitted that they strengthened their relationship with God and received a newfound inspiration to improve society, spread the good message of Divine Mercy and engage more in Church life.
World Youth Day has also made a great impact on the city of Krakow and has helped boost its global image and prominence. From July 18th to August 1st, almost 8,300 articles, posts, or publications from non-Polish media outlets were published and during the one week of the main events almost 5,500 publications were produced regarding Krakow. Aside from overall promotion of the city, Krakow saw a monetary inflow of 113 400 392 million Euros.
WORLD YOUTH DAY KRAKOW 2016 COSTS
Funding for World Youth Day Krakow 2016 came from five primary sources. Registration and participation fees, sponsorship contracts and monetary donations, donations made by parishioners, and endowments from the World Youth Day general fund were the four primary sources covering the expenses. This amounted to 45.647 million Euros in expendable funds and surpassed the total expenses which were marked at 45.499 million Euros by the end of World Youth Day Krakow 2016. In comparison to the previous World Youth Days over the past 8 years, Krakow's World Youth Day preparation and events accrued the least amount of expenses with World Youth Day Rio 2013 being twice as expensive.