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It is with great joy that I received the message announced today by Pope Francis that the next World Youth Day will take place in Poland in the year 2016. It is a joy, an honour and a great responsability for us. In that year we will also celebrate the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland.
Together with the whole Church in Poland, I rejoice that the Holy Father has accepted the invitation addressed to him by the highest authorities of the Republic of Poland and by the Polish Episcopate. In this, he has responded to the desires of so many young people who have long wished to celebrate their faith in the country and the city of Karol Wojtyła, who set off for the Eternal City from Kraków in October 1978, and who, as John Paul II, Bishop of Rome, instituted World Youth Days.
Among the many pastoral initiatives of John Paul II, World Youth Days has undoubtedly been among the most successful, far-reaching and fruitful. The Blessed Pope, since the beginning, saw in young people the “morning watchmen (Isaiah 21:11-12), keeping vigil at the dawn of the Third Millennium” (Tor Vergata, 19 August 2000).
Today Poland and Kraków open wide their hearts, so that in three years time they may welcome young pilgrims under the leadership of Pope Francis.
We express our gratitude to the Holy Father for his decision to visit the country of the Blessed (soon to be Saint) John Paul II, and look forward to keeping vigil with the “morning watchmen” at the festivities in Kraków.
Holy Father Francis, we look forward to your coming and to the arrival of so many of our young friends, with great anticipation and joy.
Stanislaw Card. Dziwisz
Archbishop Metropolitan of Kraków
Rio de Janeiro, 28 July 2013