After three years of planning, World Youth Day 2016 begins this week in Kraków. Organizers expect the event will draw more than two million people from around the world. Poland’s archdioceses and dioceses have pledged to offer accommodations for over 373,000 foreign visitors. The festive gathering of youth and young adults represents the chance to share in prayer, worship, and a celebration of the Catholic faith. From Pope Francis to dancing nuns, Catholic leaders will welcome everyone in attendance.
The Lord’s Ark church of Nowa Huta, a city outside Krakow, Poland, stands as a testament of faith over non-belief, and the power of a man, and people of faith, to quietly stand up to communism. This Catholic church stands in the middle of a once idealized, atheist community. The powerful symbolism connected with this church, remains connected to the Christian Lenten journey to Easter – a journey towards the light.
The Krakow Christmas market Opened Friday November 27, and will run through December 26. Over 80 stalls are set up in the Main Market Square of Krakow. Shoppers have the opportunity to choose from regional souvenirs, and sample hot food as well as the local specialty, mulled wine (grzaniec galicyjski). A real highlight of the week will be the annual Nativity Scene Contest, a tradition that dates back to 1945.
Cast metal displays in historic Krakow for the vision impaired represent miniature versions of major sights. I find this secondary art form in Krakow fascinating, in that even a seeing person can grasp a detailed bird’s eye view of these sights. They have signage in Braille, as well as other languages. Somewhere on each display is a small brass peg representing the height of a human, so that a vision-impaired person might perceive the actual size and shape of these buildings.