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Pope Francis registers himself through a tablet as a pilgrim to the 2016 World Youth Day in Poland

PHOTO.VA - OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Over 45,000 Youth Register for WYD 2016 in First 24 Hours

Pope Francis Officially Opened Registration on Sunday

More than 45,000 have registered for the 31st World Youth Day in Krakow in the first 24 hours of the opening of registration.

On Sunday, Pope Francis was accompanied by two youth during his Angelus address as he officially opened the registration period. The Holy Father registered himself as a pilgrim.

“There, I am registered!” he exclaimed after registering via iPad. “Through this electronic device I have registered as a pilgrim to this Day. Celebrated during the Year of Mercy, this Day will be, in a certain sense, a jubilee of the youth, called to reflect on the theme: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will find mercy.'”

Krakow, the city where St. John Paul II served as archbishop, will host the World Youth Day from July 26th – 31st next year. This isn’t the first time the World Youth Day is being held in Poland. The city of Częstochowa hosted the event founded by John Paul II in 1991, less than two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Among the preparations underway in Poland to receive pilgrims is the “transformation” of dioceses into biblical cities, such as Bethany, Cana and Gethsemane. Each will be characterized by particular elements on the theme of mercy. The city of Bielsko-Żywiec, for example, will be the Mount of the Beatitudes. The diocese overlooks the Auschwitz concentration camp, a place where pilgrims “can pray and reflect on the meaning of suffering and evil.” (J.A.E.)

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