20 December 1985 is considered as the date of establishing the World Youth Days. It was when John Paul II expressed his desire at a Christmas meeting, saying he wanted the World Youth Days to be regularly every Palm Sunday as diocesan meetings, and every two or three years – in a place chosen by him – as international meetings. But on that day something appeared what pope Wojtyła had had in his heart for a long time.

The first day of pontificate of John Paul II. The inaugurating Holy Mass has just ended. The papal procession disappears in the basilica but applause on the square does not stop. At the ‘Angelus’ the new Pope stands at the window of his private library. He raises applause. Before the prayer he spontaneously speaks to the youth: ‘You are the future of the world! You are hope of the Church! You are my hope!’.

Born from heart

For many people this moment is the first official meeting of John Paul II with the youth. And right from the beginning it is the revelation of his heart, his concern about the future of young people all over the world. And trustfulness to them. This love will be summarized on 2 April 2005: ‘I have been looking for you, and now you have come to me…’

Looking for the young is going to be one of pillars of the Polish Pope’s pontificate. Meetings with him, regularly, on all continents of the world – will be an arduous building these pillars. As, can the Church exist without the youth whose hair will turn grey one day? Who will love Christ when saintly elderly men will pass away as well as hearted elderly women with rosaries in their hands? And the other way round: Whom will young people meet, if they do not get a chance for meeting Christ? From whom will they receive answer to their most important questions?

Looking for the young, John Paul II was strengthening fundaments of Christ’s Church. Giving them a chance to meet Christ, he was strengthening fundaments of humanity. He was looking for the young everywhere, did not give up.

I am looking for you…

But this search began much earlier, before Karol Wojtyła put on the white papal attire from the indications of the Holy Spirit. He was looking for the young in Niegowicie, his first parish. He was looking for them in Kraków. When he started his pastoral ministry in the parish under the vocation of St. Florian, he was conducting academic pastoral ministry. Field Holy Masses on a kayak turned upside down during touristic trips of the youth with the Uncle Karol are today an inseparable element of memories about the Pope.

In a letter to an editorial office of ‘Homo Dei’ from 1957, Fr. Wojtyła explained his understanding of the youth pastoral ministry: ‘All is about the fact that it is necessary to talk about everything, about films, about books, about work, about academic researches and a jazz band’.

He made trips with the youth every year – as a bishop, archbishop and cardinal. All the time till he became Pope. But this election did not make him miss the youth less, he spoke to the youth and invited the youth – to squares, to the windows of apartments in which he lived. He was very moved by his ‘Letter to the young all over the world’, edited in 1985 on the occasion of the International Youth Year announced by the UNO. He asked a question in it about the sense of life. And he invited for a meeting, offering his help in searching for and finding sense of life.

An invitation accepted

The first invitation was accepted by 300 thousand of the young. But in Manilla, in 1995, the meeting with the Pope was attended by 4 million of young people (agencies informed that it was probably the biggest meeting in history).

In one of interviews John Paul II explained the success of the World Youth Days: ‘The young have an ideal of life; they want happiness. They remind us with their behavior and enthusiasm that life cannot be simply based on aiming at wealth, welfare or honours. (…) Only God can satisfy human desire’.

He was looking for them because it is Christ who is first to look for a man.

An invitation without appealing

Successors of John Paul II immediately undertook the task of looking for the young. First Benedict XVI met with the youth in Cologne, Sydney and in Madrid. In 2013 Pope Francis in Rio de Janeiro gathered 3.7 million young people around Christ. It was where, with his spontaneity, he proclaimed the sentence repeated and translated into all languages: ‘Make a tumoil!’ and he invited young people to meet him in Kraków in 2016, on the XXXI World Youth Days.

Tumoil of pope Francis

‘I would like you to be heard about in dioceses, I want the Church to go out into streets. I want us to defend ourselves against everything which is worldliness, stillness, what is comfort, clericalism, everything which is closing oneself. Parishes, schools, institutions are established to go out! If they do not do it, they become a kind of a non-governmental organization and the Church cannot be a non-governmental organization. Let bishops and priests forgive me if somebody will make turmoil because of it. There is advice. I thank for what you will do’ – said pope Francis in the cathedral in Rio de Janeiro on 25 July 2013.

Many commentators were confused what to do with the Pope’s dream. How to translate the Spanish word ‘lio’ which also means ‘tumoil’, ‘tumult’, and even ‘mess’. Would Francis be encouraging the young for revolution?

In translation I will use a suggestions of one of priests: ‘Tumoil is a word with various meanings. But it is not important how it sounds – it is important who says it. If a leader of a heavy metal band said it, I would got terrified. If the Pope says it, I understand that it concerns a good evangelical tumoil. So that it would be hear all over the world that Christ is alive and the youth are just proclaiming it. That they testify alive faith’.

Tumoil in Kraków

Organizers of the World Youth Days 2016 expect that the Pope’s invitation will be responded to by 2.5 million people. This is the amount of people who may want to ‘make evangelical tumoil’ in the city of Karol Wojtyła.

History of meetings of the Holy Father John Paul II looking for young people in an unusual way will return to the starting point. They will arrive in the city in which the pope who invented the World Youth Days, who was looking for them – had been brought up and experienced his youthful years. They will arrive here to look for Christ in the city in which John Paul II had met Christ himself and chosen. In the city in which St. Faustyna had met Christ in a particularly way and she brought Him to the world, with which she made tumoil of mercifulness. It was thanks to her courage and persistence that in nearly all churches of the world visitors are welcomed by Jesus with open arms, like in the painting of Łagiewniki presenting Merciful Jesus. The one who always looks for the man as the first and is never discouraged by his failures. This year in Kraków, the pope from Argentina who will announce the Holy Year of Mercifulness, will make tumoil with the young from all over the world, under the tenderly look of St. John Paul II, Krakus, so that those who do not know Christ yet, will be able to hear about Him.

We do not know whether pope Francis will open a window at 3 Franciszkańska Street or if friendly chat will begin. We do not know how the Holy Spirit will want to lead the Successor of St. Peter. Whereas, we know that the young, invited by Francis, following Karol Wojtyła and Faustyna Kowalska, cannot go to another place this year, than to Merciful Jesus’ open arms.


„Niedziela” 12/2016

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl