Poland has been known as the heart of the Divine Mercy devotion since the 1930s and also boasts the homeland of the late Pope St. John Paul II.
This year, an additional spotlight has been shed on the country as it hosts World Youth Day amidst the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which is why the Knights of Columbus are sponsoring a site called “Mercy Centre” in the heart of Krákow to offer youth a multitude of different mercy-themed events.
“Pope Francis has declared mercy a key theme both for this year and for World Youth Day,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in a recent press release.
“This is especially appropriate given the selection of Krákow as host city, since this is where devotion to Divine Mercy was born, and where St. John Paul II during his time there grew in this devotion, which became a major theme of his pontificate as well,” Anderson continued, according to a Catholic News Agency report.
Mercy Centre will be open from July 26-31 and will be located at the Tauron Arena Krákow, one of Poland’s largest event centers seating over 20,000 people. It is also listed as one of the places that Pope Francis will visit during the July 25-31 celebration of World Youth Day.
Although open to everyone, Mercy Centre has been primarily crafted to offer young, English-speaking pilgrims a site where they can learn about mercy through prayer and catechetical formation from renowned speakers such as George Weigel, Curtis Martin, and Jason Evert. Daily Mass, confession, and adoration will also be offered.
“Mercy Centre is thus perfectly situated to help pilgrims understand that Christian life must be an experience of receiving mercy from God, and giving it also to our neighbors in the form of love, charity and forgiveness,” said Anderson.
Among the many events, Mercy Centre will host a “Night of Mercy” on the evening of July 27, featuring concerts from Matt Maher and Audrey Assad, and a series of talks by Bishop Robert Barron of Word on Fire Ministries and LifeTeen’s Joel Stepanek.
In addition, Mercy Centre will offer a variety of historical exhibits throughout the week, including information on Divine Mercy, Christianity in Poland, and Auschwitz, as well as vocational exhibits on marriage, diocesan priesthood and the religious life. Pilgrims will also be able to venerate the relics of Polish saints such as St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. John Paul II and St. Faustina Kowalska.
The site will also be used by the United States, Canadian and Australian conferences of Catholic bishops for their national gatherings.
Mercy Centre is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, who have been involved in World Youth Day for the past 25 years and are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their presence in the country of Poland.
Other co-sponsors of Mercy Centre include the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., the Sisters of Life, Salt + Light Television, Holy Cross Family Ministries, the Dominican Liturgical Institute, the National Conference of Religious Vocations Directors and the National Council of Diocesan Vocations Directors.
More information about Mercy Centre can be found at www.wydenglishsite.org.