The most recent National Pilgrimage took place in 2003, in thanksgiving for the 25 years of the pontificate of St. John Paul II. This time, Poles are coming to thank Pope Francis for his visit to Poland and the World Youth Day, and in the context of the celebrations of the 1050th anniversary of Poland’s Baptism and the Year of Mercy.
“We must thank God and the Holy See for all the events held recently in Poland that brought so much joy to the Poles,” said Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki, President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference and Vice-President of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE).
According to preliminary estimates, nearly 50 bishops, 260 priests and 7,000 faithful will take part in the Polish National Pilgrimage to Rome for thanksgiving. The program of the pilgrimage, which is the same for all, includes Masses in four patriarchal basilicas, an audience with the Holy Father, and the Angelus prayer. Audience with Pope Francis will take place Saturday, Oct. 22, on the liturgical feast of Saint John Paul II.
The National Pilgrimage fits perfectly into the celebration schedule of the Year of Mercy and the 1050th anniversary of Poland’s Baptism, which brought the Poles into Western Europe’s ambit of faith and culture.