Pope Francis vigil is climax to World Youth Day for East Anglian pilgrims
An 80-strong pilgrim group from the Diocese of East Anglia has returned to the UK after joining two million other young Catholics, and Pope Francis, at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland.
The East Anglia group included dozens of young people from across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambs along with Bishop Alan Hopes and a number of local priests.
They spent the first week in the Zakopane region of Poland visiting local churches and shrines, meeting local Catholics and walking in the Tetra mountains, following in the footsteps of former Polish Pope, Saint John Paul II.
The second week was spent in Krakow where they took part in huge outdoor Masses with Pope Francis at Campus Misericordiae (Field of Mercy), an all-night vigil, youth festivals, concerts and catechesis (teaching) sessions in huge sports stadiums.
East Anglia youth communications officer, Clare Storey, said: “We have had a brilliant two weeks, and bonded very well as a group, particularly in looking out and supporting each other.
“During the final Mass, Pope Francis reiterated his message from the opening ceremony a few days before that encouraged the young people present to renounce the ways of the world, in particular the materialistic way of living. And instead to carry a different type of truth in their hearts - one that is Christ-centred and consistently attempts to overcome the things that will inevitably leave us trapped and unfulfilled.”
During the final event, Pope Francis announced that the next World Youth Day will be held in Panama in 2019.
Hear Sara Mawe from Reepham interviewed on BBC Radio Norfolk about World Youth Day in Krakow, Rio and Madrid, live from Poland. Start at 2:45:30 hrs
Hear Clare Storey from Ramsey interviewed on BBC Radio Cambs about World Youth Day, live from Poland. Start at 1:50:40
You can read a full report on the two-week trip at www.rcdea.org.uk