About 40,000 young people gathered Saturday at the National Stadium in Warsaw to pray for the synod of bishops taking place in Rome this month.
The 12-hour gathering on Oct. 6 included prayer, conferences, and testimonies, as well as concerts and artistic shows, according to a release from the Polish Bishops’ Conference.
The Oct. 3-28 synod is focused on young people, the faith, and vocational discernment, and bishops from Poland have been participating in the synod in Rome since it began last week. Some of the topics of discussion the Polish bishops have participated in include intergenerational relationships, social media, sport, and pastoral care.
Organizers said Youth at the Stadium was the largest meeting of young people being held during the synod.
“We want to connect spiritually with the synod and pray for it,” said Fr. Rafał Jarosiewicz, the event’s organizer.
“[The service] was dedicated to those who have lost God somewhere on the paths of their lives, as well as those who know Him but need to be strengthened and want to move ahead.”
Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw thanked the young people following Mass at the gathering for the bond with the synod and Pope Francis.
“This is a synod about you and for you! You are the hope of the Church. You are the hope of the world,” Cardinal Nycz said.
In addition to the prayer rallies, a designated group of young people keep watch and pray for the synod’s intentions at the Jasna Góra shrine in Częstochowa. The shrine is home to the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa, also called the “Black Madonna,” is greatly revered by Poles and is a pilgrimage site for Catholics from across Europe.
The Polish Bishop’s Conference said over 122,000 young people from Poland have prayed for the Synod Assembly during a “prayer relay” and other youth events.