In Warsaw, Kraków, and Wadowice (birthplace of Karol Wojtyła), we saw construction underway as the cities prepared for Pope Benedict XVI's visit, which begins today. A Warsaw park that must be Piłsudski Square had this huge cross, which we were told resembled one made for a visit of Pope John Paul II.
In Kraków on the night of May 13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and the 25th anniversary of the attempt on the Polish pope's life, we came across this monument bearing the papal crest and decorated with votive candles and freshly cut flowers. We asked a couple of passersby if they spoke English. The woman explained to us that the inscription meant something like "You are our rock." In the background you can dimly make out the scaffolding for a temporary structure that was being built in the park. A cylinder standing several stories tall was apparently going to be made into a cross but as yet lacked a crossbar.
We stopped briefly in Wadowice on our way from Kraków to Prague. Workers were preparing a platform in the main square.
I was just as happy to be finished visiting Poland before Pope Benedict arrived. It would be exciting to see him, to be sure, but the crowds would have been nearly overwhelming. These Poles take their Catholicism seriously!