World Youth Day
Pope Francis maintained a busy schedule during his five-day visit to Poland for World Youth Day, July 27-31. The theme of the 2016 event was “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy.” After meeting with Polish bishops, the pope traveled to Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp, and visited the cell of St. Maximilian Kolbe, the Franciscan monk who gave up his life so another prisoner could live. The pontiff prayed in silence at the camp.
At the welcoming ceremony for World Youth Day Pope Francis said, “When Jesus touches a young person’s heart, he or she becomes capable of truly great things.” He also passed through the Holy Door at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow, and celebrated Mass at the Sanctuary of St. John Paul II.
At the closing Mass on July 31, the pope spoke about the Gospel story of Zacchaeus, and told more than one million young people that the obstacles that Zacchaeus overcame should “say something to us.” He continued, “Even today we can risk not getting close to Jesus because we don’t feel big enough, because we don’t think ourselves worthy.” He reminded the crowd: “[God] demands of us real courage: the courage to be more powerful than evil by loving everyone, even our enemies.”
July 22 Marked first Feast of St. Mary Magdalene
On July 22, the Church celebrated the first feast day of St. Mary Magdalene after Pope Francis elevated her day of memorial to the level of feast day. The pope wanted to honor the woman "who so loved Christ and was so greatly loved by Christ"