After his meeting with the Polish bishops on Wednesday afternoon, the Pope directed his attention to the youth as he spoke from the balcony of the Archbishop of Krakow. This was done in keeping up with John Paul II tradition. Pope Francis also prayed for the WYD volunteer who died of a cancer last July 2.
"Now, everyone in silence, think of our traveling companion, who worked so much for this World Youth Day. Let's pray silently from the heart. Everyone pray from your own heart. He is present among us ...”
Szymon Maciej Ciesla was 22, and worked in the graphic design team of WYD since December 2014. He collaborated on the designs of the posters and banners that adorn Krakow today. He was diagnosed with cancer on September 2015. His story has inspired thousands of people, including other World Youth Day volunteers, to whom he dedicated a video:
MACIEJ SZYMON CIESLA
"I would like to thank each and every one of you. Especially my colleagues from the Organizing Committee of World Youth Day. Thank you for every prayer and every mass, for every request directed to God so that He intervenes and fixes what went wrong. Thank you for every visit, call, message, for every warm thought.”
Pope Francis praised Maciej's courage, who fought the disease until the last moment, and said that now watches over the WYD from heaven.
"The faith of this man, our friend, who worked so much for this World Youth Day has led him to Heaven, and is now with Jesus, and he watches over us all. This is a grace. A round of applause for our companion!"
The Pope said goodbye until the next day praying a Hail Mary with the youth.