Do not be afraid to trust in mercy, pope tells millions at closing WYD mass

KRAKOW, Poland—Addressing a vast sea of young women and men gathered in Krakow for World Youth Day (WYD), Pope Francis told them not to be deterred by those who want to present the image of an insensitive God, and to believe in the power of God’s mercy.

“People will try to block you, to make you think that God is distant, rigid and insensitive, good to the good, and bad to the bad. Instead, our heavenly father ‘makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good,’” Francis said on Sunday.

The pope was addressing some two million women and men gathered in Campus Misericordiae, a field set up for the occasion in the outskirts of Krakow, Poland.

Most of the pilgrims had spent the previous night in the field, some nine miles outside the city. Hundreds of thousands arrived throughout Saturday afternoon, carrying backpacks and sleeping bags, after a hot trek.

They remained there all night, following a prayer vigil led by Francis in which he urged them not to be “couch potatoes” but to instead wake up and take ownership of their own life. If not, he warned, other people — “not necessarily better” — would make decisions for them.

Before Francis’ arrival, in a 100-yard-long altar area in Campus Misericordiae, several dozen Catholic artists were in charge of waking the young up after a night spent outside.

Israeli artist Noa, with a stunning performance of

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