Crystal Palace

Undeterred by the early start, 24,000 members of the Polish Community in England and Wales headed to the Crystal Palace National Sports centre to meet and pray with their fellow countryman.

Addressing those present the Holy Father said: “Polish culture bears very clear marks of Christianity, and it is not by chance that ‘Bogurodzica’ (hymn to the Mother of God, our oldest historical monument) gives evidence to this culture… “The emigration will fulfil its mission the more effectively the higher their ethical level is, the more that Christ is the centre of its life and activity, the more it believes that he alone is ‘the way, the truth and the life’” (Jn 14:6). Mgr Patrick Keaveny, who arranged the meeting said: “They were absolutely over the moon! They were so proud of him… It was beautiful – early morning and some of the community walking along to Crystal Palace were quite old. They were struggling – it was an extraordinary expression of faith.”

Pope John Paul II addresses the 24,000-strong Polish crowd

"What we have become accustomed to calling the 'English Polonia' came about as the very backbone of Poland, fighting for the sacred cause of her independence."