Pope Benedict XVI visits Poland

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI with president Lech Kaczyński

Pope Benedict XVI is currently visiting Poland on his third pilgrimage. The motto of his pilgrimage to the home country of previous Pope, John Paul II, is "Stand firm in your faith".

The Pope arrived at Okęcie airport in Warsaw on May 25. He met with President Lech Kaczyński and prayed in an evangelic-augsburg church together with representatives of seven minor Polish churches. The following day he said mass at Piłsudski Square, mirroring a precedent set by his predecessor 27 years earlier. Benedict XVI talked in Latin and in small parts in Polish. Later that day he went to Częstochowa.

On May 27, Benedict XVI visited Wadowice, home town of John Paul II, and Kraków. Crowds of people gathered on the Błonia meadows. Benedict XVI addressed young people in his speech and was met with applause. Benedict XVI expressed his contentment with his visit in Poland.

Tomorrow will be the last day in the pilgrimage; the Pope will visit the site of the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz and meet with representatives of other religions.

Reactions to the visit

There were some concerns about the reaction of Polish people to Benedict XVI - based on their strong attachment to his predecessor. However, the Pope was warmly welcomed and people were excited by the visit.

The pilgrimage garnered significant media attention, not only Polish press, but also from other countries. Seven TV stations, including CNN, NBC, BBC, and EuroNews, broadcast live reports from the event. Journalists from several German stations and Russian NTW came to Poland for the visit.