Celebrations across Poland for Pope's Jubilee

 Polish Cardinal Jozef Glemp celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for the Pope's Jubilee in Warsaw yesterday. The Mass was televised and marked the beginning of thousands of 25th anniversary events. Many places have been decorated with posters and banners. Celebrations are being covered on television and radio, and newspapers and magazines have printed special editions. Other events include concerts a nationwide charity collection and the establishment of a student scholarship. In his homily, Cardinal Glemp said: "Popular media focus their interest on illness and difficulties of speech of the Holy Father, as if they were waiting only to see when he is going to close his eyes... "Part of the media looks at life in a superficial way, while we want to reach to the core of this phenomenon which is the pontificate of John Paul II." Pope John Paul II is seen as having played a crucial role in the collapse of Communism in Poland. During his first visit to his homeland in 1979, when Poland was still a Soviet satellite state, around two million people went to see him deliver a message of hope and freedom. It was the largest crowd in Polish history. But is not just the older generation in Poland who love the Pope. Several rock concerts are taking place this week to mark the Jubilee. More than a third of Poland's 39-million population is under the age of 25. While the number of young Poles attending church has fallen slowly since Communism collapsed in 1989, it is still much higher than in western Europe. In a 2001 study, 47% of young adults said they regularly attended church, compared to 5% in neighbouring Germany.

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