What is WYD?
World Youth Day is an international meeting of the youth from all over the world who, together with their catechists, pastors, bishops and the pope, gather in one place in order to profess their faith in Jesus Christ.Who is the author of WYD?
The originator and the first host of WYD was blessed John Paul II who gathered the youth in Rome (1984, 1985, 2000), Buenos Aires (1987), Santiago de Compostela (1989), Częstochowa (1991), Denver (1993), Manila (1995), Paris (1997) and Toronto (2002).
WYD – the Pope and the Youth. Together.
After the death of John Paul II, the continuator of this beautiful dialogue of the Church with the youth as well as the great promoter of WYD became the retired Pope, Benedict XVI, who presided over the following meetings in Köln (2005), Sidney (2008) and Madrid (2011). Thanks to the service of Benedict XVI, Christ was preached and adored all the time by the youth from all over the world and the Church could have noticed its young people and joyful visage which is so necessary these days. In July 2013 (Rio de Janeiro) the Pope Francis met with the youth. He also announced that the next WYD in 2016 is holding in Cracow, in Poland.
A piece of history – the meetings ‘’on a trial basis”
The first two meetings (1984, 1985), arranged on the occasion of the extraordinary Jubilee of the Redemption (1983-1984) and the International Year of Youth (1985), were not yet World Youth Day. Nevertheless, they became an impulse for the Pope to take up this blessed initiative which has lasted to these days.
The establishment of WYD
The 20th of December 1985 is perceived as the date of the establishment of WYD. That day, the Pope John Paul II, during the Christmas Eve Supper, in the presence of cardinals and the staff of Curia Romana, expressed his desire for World Youth Day to be held every year on the Palm Sunday as the diocesan meeting and also every two or three years in the place set by him as the international meeting.
The communion, the formation and the joyful of faith
The purpose of WYD is the experience of the huge communion of the Universal Church, listening to the Word of God, giving the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist as well as the joyful preaching of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
The Signs of WYD: the Coss and the Icon
The meetings are accompanied by two particular signs, given by John Paul II, which are World Youth Day Cross and World Youth Day Icon of the Heavenly Mother Salus Populi Romani. Not only are these signs with the youth during WYD, but they constantly pass around the world, gathering for the prayers and adorations even thousands of the youth every day. On the Palm Sunday, the 13th of April, Holy Father handed over these signs to the Polish youth in Rome and the peregrination of WYD Cross and WYD Icon in Polish dioceses and several Eastern European countries launched.
WYD – the topic of the meetings
Each WYD requires a good preparation as regards the contents, during which the youth are going to be focused on for a few days in the language groups. The subject matter of the annual meetings is defined by Holy Father, directing the message, which is called Proclamation, to the youth. During WYD the contents are becoming absorbed during the three-day meetings, called Catechetic Triduum.
How long does WYD take?
WYD takes a couple of days. Currently, they have two fundamental parts: the first one is ‘’Days in the Dioceses’’ (in a different way, ‘’The Missionary Week’’) when the youth stay in the whole country which is the host of the meeting as well as the second one: ‘’The Central Events’’ which constitutes the weekly stay of the youth in the main organizational city.
What is the purpose of ‘’Days in the Dioceses’’?
The structure of ‘’Days in the Dioceses’’ depends on the function and the style of the hosting diocese. This is the time for the mutual acquaintance, integration, meeting of the culture and the topography of the given region. At this stage, there are many excursions and games but also the social engagement in various works and projects prepared by the organisers.
What is the structure of the whole week of WYD like?
When ‘’Days in the dioceses’’ finishes, everyone is going to the diocese which Holy Father set as the place for experiencing the central events. The youth are gathering there for the period of one week. Then, on Monday, they are arriving in the given place. On Tuesday, they are participating in the welcoming ceremony. Subsequently, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday they are taking part in the catechesis and the festival for the youth. Later, on Saturday they are making a pilgrimage to the place of watch and participating in the Holy Mass which finishes WYD. The central events are accompanied by the special meetings’area which are called the areas of reconcilation and expo-vocation.
The crucial apposition
The participation in WYD lasts about two weeks, although, you should remember that the meeting requires a long period of spiritual and organizational preparation. Thus, the real time of WYD begins with the decision of the participation and finishes with the completion of the mission, emerged with the content of the given meeting.
How many participants of WYD are there?
As a rule, these meetings are numerous. On average, during the whole week, there are a few thousand of the youth taking part. The closer the Saturday’s meeting with the Pope, the amount of the youth exceeds the number of million participants. The biggest former meetings were held in Manila in the Philippines (1995) where over 4 million of the youth took part and in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil (2013) where over 3 million of the youth gathered at Copacabana. Amid the meetings in Europe, the most numerous was in Rome in 2000 when in Tor Vergata, together with John Paul II, prayed two million one hundred and eighty thousand of the youth.
The youth and those who accompany them
It is worth knowing that apart from the youth, also many bishops, pastors, monks, nuns, consecrated persons, seminarists, novices and recently also laic, young teachers and academic professors take part in the meetings. During the last meeting in Europe (Madrid, 2011) there were eight hundred bishops, fourteen thousand of presbyters and a few thousand of conventuals.
The next WYD
XXIX World Youth Day 2014 at the diocesan level
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’’ (Mt 5,3)
XXX World Youth Day 2015 at the diocesan level
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’’ (Mt 5,8)
XXXI World Youth Day 2016 at the diocesan and international level in Cracow
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.’’ (Mt 5,7)
We invite you – do not be lonely!
The communion’s experience is one of the most beautiful fruit of participating in WYD! Therefore, do not wait for another invitation. Since you have found this page, feel invited and join many youth who are preparing for the meeting in Cracow in their own parishes.
See oficial website of World Youth Day 2016