The largest arena in Poland, the Tauron Arena Kraków, prepares for more than 40,000 American pilgrims who are expected to arrive within the next week to kick off World Youth Day 2016.
The events at the international English catechetical and youth festival site are hosted by the Knights of Columbus, who have prepared a program of events they say will be "inspirational." They also renamed the arena "Mercy Centre," to coincide with the Jubilee Year.
While the Mercy Centre particularly serves English-speakers from Australia, Canada and the United States, it will beopen to all attending pilgrims, regardless of nationality.
The often-used sports arena has the capacity to hold 22,800 attendees. It has been transformed to include various exhibits, like a "Vocation Cafe" and exhibit on the diocesan priesthood, information on St. Faustina and Pope John Paul II, and facts about the history of Christianity. There will also be various topics on Divine Mercy and sacred relics of Polish saints, to whom John Paul II had a special devotion.
The state-of-the-art facilities are conveniently located only five kilometers east of Krakow's main square. In addition to prominent Catholic speakers using the space, Pope Francis himself will end his time in Krákow by meeting with World Youth Day volunteers at the Mercy Centre on Sunday, July 31.