Poland is a “beautiful and special” place, Pope Francis has said after ending his pilgrimage to the country for World Youth Day. On his flight back to Rome on Sunday, the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics praised the way World Youth Day, one of the largest international religious gatherings, had been organised.
“Kraków, from what I saw, seemed to me very beautiful, and the Poles very enthusiastic,” the pope told journalists on his plane.
Kraków was the main venue for World Youth Day, which ended on Sunday with a mass at which Pope Francis bid farewell to around two million pilgrims who flocked to the southern Polish city.
The pope noted the crowds that turned out in the streets of Kraków on Sunday evening, despite heavy rain. “These were not just young people, but also the elderly,” he added.
During his five-day pilgrimage to Poland, Pope Francis visited the Auschwitz concentration camp, celebrated masses, visited a children’s hospital and held a string of meetings with young Catholic faithful from all over the world.