Bishop Murphy celebrates Mass for the pilgrims from the Diocese of Rockville Centre in Poland on July 29. View more photos from the diocesan gathering here.

The World Youth Day (WYD) events are now concluded with a homily of the Holy Father. Today’s Sunday Mass and homily is joined in spirit with his moving message to the young people of the world Saturday evening at the Prayer Vigil before the Blessed Sacrament. Together they are MUST reading for us all.

You can read the pope’s message from the prayer vigil here.

You can read the closing mass homily here.

There were more than 400 young people and chaperones from the Rockville Centre Diocese at WYD in Krakow. There was a large contingent from our diocese, another large group led by the Marianists, parish groups and Father Joe Fitzgerald’s group of seminarians and discerners. The Marianists hosted us all at the hotel they were using in Krakow. With our three auxiliary bishops, priests of our Diocese, Marianist priest and brothers who are also a blessed part of our local Church, religious sisters and so many faith-filled, joyful young people, we spent a good part of the day together. It was a privilege that filled me with such joy to offer the “catechesis” on the theme of WYD: Blessed are the Merciful for they shall receive mercy!

I placed before the young people the example of Blessed Jerzy Popieleszcko and Edith Stein, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, as inspiration and models whose lives and deaths as martyrs can inspire and guide us as we live the words of the Sermon on the Mount and the call of St. Paul to live up to our Christian vocation in Romans, Chapter 12.

The catechesis was followed by Mass before we all gathered in the Atrium of the hotel where we dug into a splendid meal that was – surprise, surprise – greatly enjoyed and enthusiastically consumed by some very big appetites. Before the pilgrims set forth to walk to Blonia Park for the Via Crucis Friday evening with the Holy Father, all the DRVC pilgrims re-grouped for a period of “glory sharing.” That is when you stand up and share with others how your life has been shaped by God’s love for us and how our lives of faith turn us into being concrete, real life, witness of hope and love for others.

Dear friends, since this will probably be my last time participating in WYD, permit me a personal moment to share a thought with you. The WYD, a gift from Pope St John Paul to the Church he loved so much, is precious gift for our young — past, present and future.

All of us can be proud of the youth of our diocese. Trust them. Encourage them in their faith and in living out that faith. Pray with them and for them. And let their love for the Lord, His Church and you and me change our lives for the better. They have already done that for me. For that I thank God and commend them to your loving care.