22,000 young people pray for peace at Catholic festival in Poland
Warsaw, Poland, Jun 6, 2022 / 11:05 am
Twenty-two thousand young people from Poland and Ukraine attended the 26th Lednica 2000 meeting on the eve of Pentecost.
Pope Francis sent a message to participants ahead of the youth festival on June 4.
Speaking at his general audience on June 1, the pope said: “Today we begin the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, source of love and peace.”
“Open yourselves to this love and take it ‘to the ends of the earth,’ witnessing to the goodness and mercy that flow from the Heart of Jesus.”
The annual gathering at Lednickie Fields in west-central Poland has taken place since 1997. The Dominican priest Father Jan Góra, who founded the meetings, died in 2015.
Father Tomasz Nowak, O.P., the pastor of this year’s meeting, said: “The phenomenon of Lednica lies in the fact that there is everything a young person may need — enthusiasm, joy, dancing, and singing, but at the same time prayer, Mass, Confession.”
“Young people are looking for love and truth, which are not temporary and illusory, but which are tried and tested and which can be relied on for eternity.”
Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, organizers invited refugees to the gathering this year.
“Many of us have taken under our roof mothers with children fleeing the drama of war. We welcomed them like family. That’s why we also want to pray together here in Ukrainian — for the miracle of peace in Ukraine,” Nowak said.
The meeting was attended by young people from various communities and organizations.
“Scouts, altar servers, young people from the Light-Life Movement, the Neocatechumenate, the Catholic Youth Association, Dominican communities, young people from almost all existing groups in the Church in Poland. They want to be together and enjoy one another’s presence,” said the priest.
“The Lednica meetings take place in the most important place for our nation: at Lednickie Lake, where according to archaeologists, the Baptism of Poland took place in 966 AD. This is the source of our identity, and this is why we pray every year on the eve of Pentecost so that the Holy Spirit would come down on us, anoint us, and send us out, just as he did on Jesus during his baptism.”
Nowak added: “The culminating moments of the meeting are always the Eucharist and passing through the Gate of the Third Millennium, a characteristic and impressive construction in the shape of a fish — a symbol of Christianity. This passage is a sign of conscious choice of following the way of Christ.”
“But often the young people said that the time of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was the most important moment for them. Being alone with Christ in front of a crowd of 20,000 in total silence is a moment that cannot be forgotten.”