What is World Youth Day?

In 1986, Pope John Paul II initiated World Youth Day (WYD), a week-long gathering of young people from all over the world with the Pope. It is also a pilgrimage, a celebration of youth, an expression of the universal Church and an intense moment of evangelization for the youth world. Although its Catholic identity is clearly evident, WYD opens its doors to everyone, no matter how close to or distant from the Church they are.  

The celebration takes place every 2-3 years in a different country and attracts millions of people. It is an opportunity for young people from around the world to come together with pilgrims from every continent to pray, worship, and celebrate the Catholic faith. The highlights are the celebrations for which the Pope is present, such as the welcoming and opening ceremony, the Way of the Cross, the vigil and, on the last day, the outdoor closing Mass with the Holy Father. 

Vigil – WYD Poland 2016

Our parishes have a long history of sending young pilgrims to World Youth Day.  Many of the young people from our parishes who have attended World Youth Day in the past have described it as a life-changing event in their journey of faith.

Please visit our previous World Youth Day pages for first-person accounts and photos from the pilgrimages!