World Youth Day

World Youth Day

World Youth Day is a youth-oriented Roman Catholic Church event. While the event itself celebrates the Catholic faith, invitation to attend is non-denominational. [ [ WYD08 FAQs] - About... Q2, and Attending... Q1] "World Youth Day" is not associated with International Youth Day or any of the international observance days.

"World Youth Day" (or in short 'WYD') was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1986. It is celebrated on a diocesan level annually, and at a week-long international level every two to three years at different locations. The international level events attract hundreds of thousands of youth from almost every country on the planet. It is a major part of the upsurge in Catholic Youth Work in some countries over recent years; for example, the Director of Catholic Youth Services for England and Wales has said of the event that it would have far-reaching effects, not restricted to those who attended. [ [] - Quotation from Helen Bardy.]


In the month before the Extraordinary Synod, John Paul II took the occasion of the United Nations' International Youth Year to launch one of the signature initiatives of his pontificate-the World Youth Days that would draw millions of young people on pilgrimage to Europe, Latin America, North America, Asia, and Oceania. [Weigel, George. "Youth and the Future" Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, pp.493-494, 2005]

The idea of the World Youth Day, the Pope remembered, could be traced back to his young friends in "Srodowisko" and their exploration of the personal and vocational dynamics of adolescence and young adulthood. His early papal pilgrimages, in Italy and abroad, had convinced him that a pastoral strategy of accompaniment with young people was as valid for a pope as it had been for a fledgling priest.

"Srodowisko" [Weigel, George. "Srodowisko." Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, pp.98-102, 2005] , a term suggested by Wojtyla himself in the 1960, is now used as a self-description by a group of some 200 men and women, many of them married couples with grandchildren, which first began take shape during his university Chaplaincy at St. Florian's Church in Krakow's old town, in Poland. "Srodowisko" does not translate easily. "Environment" is one possibility, but John Paul II prefers more humanistic "milieu." In any case, what would later come to be known as "Srodowisko" involved the fusing of several networks of young adults and young married couples with whom Father Wojtyla worked. The earliest of these called it self "Rodzinka", or "little family." A later group of Wojtyla youngsters called themselves "Paczka", "packet" or "parcel". "Srodowisko" saw youth groups evolve into networks of intellectual conversation. Both youngsters and intellectuals became involved in holiday excursions. The word itself maybe hard to translate, but that this network of friendships was crucial in shaping the ideas and the ministry of Karol Wojtyla the priest, later bishop, and ultimately pope, is indisputable. John Paul II marked the UN's International Youth Year and his Palm Sunday, 1985, meeting with young people in Rome with an Apostolic Letter, "To the Youth of the World", which mixed reminiscence, exhortation, and the Pope's phenomenological approach to anything human in fairly equal proportions.

Traditional process

World Youth day is commonly celebrated in a similar way as it has been for many events. The most emphasized and well known traditional theme is the unity and presence of numerous different cultures. Flags and other national declarations are displayed amongst people to show their attendance at the events and proclaim their own themes of Catholicism. Such is usually done through chants and singing of other national songs involving a Catholic theme.

Over the course of the major events taking place, national objects are traded between pilgrims. Flags, shirts, crosses and other Catholic icons are carried amongst pilgrims which are later traded as souvenirs to other people from different countries of the world. A unity of acceptance among people is also common, with all different cultures coming together to appreciate one another.

Other largely recognized traditions include the Pope's public appearance, commencing with his arrival around the city with the 'Popemobile' and then with his final held mass at the event. Such is the regard for the large distance of pilgrimage walks performed by the attenders of the event. The most recent festival in [Sydney] recorded an estimated distance of a 10km walk as roads and other public transport systems were closed off.

World Youth Day 2008

The Archdiocese of Sydney was chosen as the host of the 2008 World Youth Day celebrations. The occasion will mark only the fourth Papal visit to the country - Pope Paul VI, twice by Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI. At the time it was announced in 2005, WYD 2008 was commended by then Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, and the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell. [ [ "Australians delighted at 2008 World Youth Day"] ] World Youth Day 2008 was held in Sydney, with the Papal Mass held on the Sunday at Randwick Racecourse.

The week saw pilgrims from all continents participate in the Days in the Diocese program hosted by Catholic dioceses throughout Australia and New Zealand. The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI arrived into Sydney on Sunday 13 July 2008 at Richmond Air Force Base. Cardinal George Pell celebrated the Opening Mass at Barrangaroo (East Darling Harbour) with other activities including the re-enactment of Christ's passion during the Stations of the Cross and the Holy Father's boat cruise through Sydney Harbour. Pilgrims participated in a variety of youth festivities including visits to St Mary's Cathedral, daily Catechesis and Mass led by Bishops from all around the world, concerts, visits to the tomb of Blessed Mary MacKillop, the Vocations Expo at Darling Harbour, received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration.

The event attracted 250,000 foreign visiting pilgrims to Sydney with an estimated 400,000 pilgrims attending Holy Mass celebrated by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday 20 July 2008. This is the largest single gathering of human beings at the one place in Australia's historyFact|date=August 2008.

World Youth Day 2011

Following the celebration of Holy Mass at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney on 20 July 2008, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI proudly blessed the people of Spain by announcing that the next International World Youth Day 2011 will be held in Madrid, Spain. This will be held from August 15 until the 21st 2011.

Chronology of celebrations


Diocesian Level

Events at Diocese-level celebrations are decided by a local team usually appointed by the Ordinary.

Since these celebrations usually occur during Palm Sunday, it almost always will include the Holy Mass of Passion Sunday - where Jesus' entry to Jerusalem in his final days is commemorated.

Music, prayer, reconciliation opportunities, as well as adoration of the Blessed Sacrament may also be part of the celebrations.

See also

* International Youth Day
* International Youth Year


External links

* [ Official website of World Youth Day]
* [ The website for World Youth Day 2008, Australia]
* [ WYD page from United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' website]
* [ World Youth Day Photo Slideshows, Themesongs and Small Movie (English/Dutch/German) ]
* [ In pictures: Pope ends Australia trip]

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