Bishop Robert Barron surprised some of the LA pilgrims with a special visit as they prepared for their journey to the Field of Mercy for an overnight vigil and closing WYD Mass.

Bishop Barron sent the pilgrims off with a blessing, saying: “Lord, fill us with a sense of purpose and mission. Help us to carry home what we learned here -- carry the spark and the fire that we caught here.”  

Pilgrims from LA joined young people from six continents in taking over the streets of Krakow to journey south to the Field of Mercy. They prayed, sang and flew flags with pride from m each of their countries.  

“We are a small community, encountering another small community and that is the church,” said Claudia Avila is a first-time WYD pilgrim traveling with a group of young adults from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. “WYD is a view of the current state of the church -- it shows us how our faith is experienced in other countries and how we are so interconnected.” 

The vigil started with artistic performances including songs, dancing and reenactments, including a performance by an acrobatic dance group.

During the vigil, Pope Francis addressed close to 1.5 million young people, saying: “We didn’t come into this world to vegetate, to take it easy, to make our lives a comfortable sofa to fall asleep on. No, we came for another reason: to leave a mark.”

“Tonight Pope Francis asked us to shake hands with our neighbor as a first step in building bridges — it was such a simple yet profound message, said Lawrence Sanchez WYD pilgrim from Holy Family Parish in Artesia. “Pope Francis has said that we are one human race and I think that this connection is found through love and our faith.”

As night fell, pilgrims from all over the world brightened the Field of Mercy through their energy with spirited chants and songs of worship, and more than a million candles.