Vatican City, 20 March 2016 – Following the Mass of Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord, the Pope prayed the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square and recalled that this Sunday will be the 21st World Youth Day, which will culminate at the end of July with the world meeting in Krakow, and whose theme this year is "Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy".
"I especially greet the young people present here and extend my greetings to the young throughout the world", said Francis. "I hope that many of you will come to Krakow, the homeland of St. John Paul II, who initiated the World Youth Days. To his intercession we entrust the final days of preparation of this pilgrimage that, in the framework of the Holy Year of Mercy, will be the Jubilee of the young at the level of the universal Church".
He mentioned that in the Square there were many young volunteers from Krakow who, returning in Poland, will take to the heads of the Nations the olive branches gathered in Jerusalem, Assisi and Montecassino, and blessed today, "as an invitation to cultivate intentions of peace, reconciliation and fraternity", and he encouraged them in this initiative, urging them to continue "with courage".
"And now", he concluded, "let us pray to the Virgin Mary that she might live Holy Week with spiritual intensity".