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Pope’s emotional homecoming

KRAKOW, Poland (CNS): On a four-day trip to his Polish homeland, Pope John Paul II said the legacy of one of the country’s saints – a devotional movement dedicated to God’s healing mercy – offered the remedy to a world torn by suffering, conflict and sin.

The visit from August 16-19 to his former Archdiocese of Krakow was an emotional one, as the Pope retraced his steps as a young man, a priest and a bishop.

Poles welcomed him as their favourite son, in a homecoming made all the more moving by the pontiff’s frailty.

‘You are home,’ they chanted. ‘Stay with us.’

‘With my heart and my thoughts, yes,’ he said.

The 82 year-old Pope reminisced and bantered with the crowd from his residence window every evening, teasing well-wishers that if he had aged 23 years since his first trip home so had they.

On his last night, he sang the crowd a goodbye song before dining with a group of old friends.

But he was not back in Krakow just to relive his memories. He came to promote a prayer movement inspired by the visions of St Faustina Kowalska more than 60 years ago.

Catholic Church Insurance

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