KRAKOW, Poland, AUG. 18, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II entrusted the world to the Divine Mercy when he dedicated the new shrine erected in Lagiewniki, a suburb of Krakow.
The Pope explained that this pilgrimage center, built over three years near the convent where Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) lived and died, will spread the message of that Polish mystic “to all the inhabitants of the earth.”
The dedication of the Divine Mercy Shrine on Saturday was the most important event of the 98th international trip of this pontificate.
The white surfaces on both sides of the altar projected video pictures that allowed 4,000 people present to see the figure of the Pope close-up.
Above an enormous golden tabernacle shaped like the globe was a picture of the Merciful Jesus. It was surrounded by a bush shaken by the wind, an image of the struggle of the human being against personal weakness.
About 20,000 people followed the ceremony outside the shrine. The crowds spilled over into distant streets where the sound of the loudspeakers could scarcely be heard.
Despite the distance, adults and young people remained kneeling in silence on the tarmac and pavements as if they were close to the altar. More than 200,000 people waited Saturday to see the Holy Father for a few seconds as he passed by in the popemobile.
John Paul II said during his homily: “In this shrine, I wish solemnly to entrust the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the message of God’s merciful love, proclaimed here through St. Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth and fill their hearts with hope.”
“How greatly today’s world needs God’s mercy! In every continent, from the depth of human suffering, a cry of mercy seems to rise up,” the Holy Father exclaimed.
“Where hatred and the thirst for revenge dominate, where war brings suffering and death to the innocent, there the grace of mercy is needed in order to settle human minds and hearts and to bring about peace,” the Pope continued.
“Wherever respect for life and human dignity are lacking, there is need of God’s merciful love, in whose light we see the inexpressible value of every human being,” he added. “Mercy is needed in order to ensure that every injustice in the world will come to an end in the splendor of truth.”
At the end, the Pope quoted Jesus’ words as recorded in Sister Faustina’s diary: “From here, there must go forth ‘the spark which will prepare the world for his final coming.'”
“This spark needs to be lighted by the grace of God,” the Holy Father stressed. “This fire of mercy needs to be passed on to the world. In the mercy of God the world will finds peace and mankind will find happiness!”
The intense heat of the crowded shrine affected the Pope, but he did not shorten the long rite of consecration of the church.
Carried away by emotion, John Paul II said spontaneously: “Who would have thought that someone who walked here with wooden clogs would one day consecrate this basilica?” Just a few meters from the shrine is the site of the Solvay quarry where he worked in his youth during the Nazi occupation.
At the end of the ceremony, John Paul II met with former President Lech Walesa, former leader of the Solidarity labor union.