During World Youth Day, Pope Francis is going to stay in the Bishop's Palace in Cracow at 3 Franciszkańska Street. The papal apartments are located on the first floor from the courtyard side. We call them 'apartments' even though they don't have much in common with luxurious rooms. It is here where Karol Wojtyła lived while still being the Metropolitan Archbishop of Cracow. He returned to this address as Pope John Paul II during his pilgrimages to Poland.
Pope Francis, who does not value luxury, will surely appreciate the modesty of the papal rooms. Even though the apartments were renovated after the death of John Paul II - the furniture and items used by the Polish Pope were moved to the John Paul II Centre (located in Łagiewniki, neighbouring the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy) - the apartment's character has been maintained. When it comes to the important changes, a chapel was created in the location of Karol Wojtyła's former bedroom, which will be put at Francis' disposal.
During his stay on Franciszkańska Street, Pope Francis has to follow in his great predecessor's footsteps. This is why he decided that aside from official meetings and masses for WYD participants, he will also appear in the window of the Cracow curia. Why is this window so important to Cracow?
It all began with the first papal pilgrimage to Cracow and then during each of John Paul II's subsequent visits to Cracow. People came near the window of the palace on Franciszkańska Street, mostly the youth, and there was much singing and cheering: "Come to us!", "Stay with us!", "We love you!" The Pope was never willing to make people plead for long. As early as the first evening, during the pilgrimage in 1979, he stood at the window and started talking with the crowd: "Who is making so much noise? I have not heard such noise since Mexico, where people cheered 'El Papa, El Papa!'". The people gathered near the palace immediately started shouting: "El Papa, happy birthday!"
They wanted a speech but the Pope answered that he had a sore throat. It did not stop him from having a dialogue with the young people and joking: "It is hard being a Pope in Rome. But in Cracow it is even worse, as I would have to stand in this window all the time and I would not have any time to sleep, nor think." Finally, late after midnight he finished the meeting with the words: "You are asking for a word or two, so - good-night.". Of course, the Pope was not prepared to have talks with the youth just from the window. So, he simply jumped onto the window sill and a sound system quickly showed up. These meetings by the window were to become new tradition of papal pilgrimages in Cracow. In 2002, the famous words were said from the window: "If someone would ask, it is 3 Franciszkańska Street." The Pope was already very sick and he was unable to have long talks in the evening, but despite this he appeared in the window. At the time of John Paul II's death in 2005, the people of Cracow were also standing below the papal window, praying or simply standing in silence. Franciszkańska Street was closed for the time of mourning, and a carpet of candles emerged under the window. And this keeps happening - on both the anniversary of Karol Wojtyła's ascension to the throne of St. Peter and also on his birthday and death.
The proof of how much this window has settled into the Cracow consciousness was the successor of John Paul II - Benedict XVI's - pilgrimage to Poland. Young people gathered once again at the curia and the Pope greeted them from the window.
Pope Francis decided to continue the tradition of informal meetings by the window. He is supposed to appear at it on the first day of his visit in Cracow - or on Wednesday evening (there is no set hour).
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