World Youth Day 2016

World Youth Day 2016 (WYD 2016) was the 15th World Youth Day, an international event organised by the Catholic Church and focused on faith and youth that took place from 26 to 31 July 2016 in Kraków, Poland. It was the third World Youth Day held in Central Europe.

World Youth Day 2016
Logo of the World Youth Day 2016
DateJuly 26, 2016 (2016-07-26) – July 31, 2016 (2016-07-31)
LocationKraków, Poland
Coordinates50.030934°N 20.093380°E / 50.030934; 20.093380
TypeYouth festival
ThemeBlessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. (Mt 5:7)
Organised byCatholic Church
ParticipantsPope Francis
Previous2013 Rio de Janeiro
Next2019 Panama City
The three figures of the World Youth Day 2016: The image of Merciful Jesus (Divine Mercy devotion), Saint Faustina and Saint John Paul II

Pope Francis announced at the end of the closing Mass of the previous World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro that Kraków, Poland will be the venue for World Youth Day 2016.[1] This will be the second World Youth Day hosted by Poland, the first being the World Youth Day 1991 held in Czestochowa.[2]

According to Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kraków, World Youth Day 2016 was to be particularly significant as a tribute to Pope John Paul II, founder of the World Youth Day, as Kraków was his home. As he is such a popular saint in Poland, canonized on 27 April 2014, Cardinal Dziwisz said that the news of hosting another World Youth Day in Poland has been met with "enthusiasm", and all Catholic dioceses in Poland will be supporting the event.[3] Special activities related to John Paul II's devotion to the Merciful Jesus (Divine Mercy devotion) based on Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska apparitions and message.

World Youth Day 2016 concluded on 31 July, as scheduled. It is estimated that 3 million pilgrims celebrated the event.



More than 70 priests took part in a meeting on 10 September 2013 dedicated to the spiritual aspects of the preparations to WYD Krakow 2016. They represented all Polish dioceses and the local organizing committee in Krakow. Bishop Henryk Tomasik, national coordinator for youth pastoral care, presented main ideas that will take place before the actual WYD week, particularly the peregrination of the icon Salus Populi Romani and the WYD Cross. Young Poles will take over the Cross from young Brazilians on Palm Sunday, 13 April 2014. The Polish group will consist of 100 representatives of all the dioceses (approximately two persons per diocese). The following day the Cross starts its peregrination in the Archdiocese of Poznan. The Cross will stay in every diocese for 20 days and ends its pilgrimage in Krakow. The Cross will be present not only in churches and chapels but in schools, prisons for youth, and universities as well.


Pilgrimage of the Cross and Icon will take place through Poland and in other European countries: Belarus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

DatesDioceses of Poland/Country
Departure: April 13, 2014Rome, Italy
April 14 – May 3, 2014Poznań
May 4–17, 2014Kalisz
May 18–30, 2014Włocławek
May 31 – June 5, 2014Rome, Italy
June 6–7, 2014Lednica
June 8–14, 2014Warszawa Praga
June 15–28, 2014Siedlce
June 29 – July 12, 2014Belarus
July 13–26, 2014Lithuania
July 27 – August 9, 2014Latvia
August 10 – September 5, 2014Russia
September 6 – October 4, 2014Ukraine
October 5–18, 2014Moldova
October 19 – November 1, 2014Romania
November 2–15, 2014Hungary
November 16–29, 2014Slovakia
November 30 – December 13, 2014Czech Republic
December 14, 2014 – January 3, 2015Opole
January 4–17, 2015Katowice
January 18–31, 2015Gliwice
February 1–14, 2015Kielce
February 15–28, 2015Sosnowiec
March 1–14, 2015Bielsko – Biała
March 15–28, 2015Częstochowa
March 28–29, 2015Pelplin
March 30 – April 18, 2015Radom
April 19 – May 2, 2015Sandomierz
May 3–16, 2015Zamość
May 17–30, 2015Przemyśl
May 30–31, 2015Piekary Śląskie
June 1–11, 2015Rzeszów
June 12–14, 2015National Missionary Congress (Warszawa)
June 15–27, 2015Ełk
June 28 – July 11, 2015Białystok
July 12–25, 2015Łomża
July 26 – August 8, 2015Drohiczyn
August 9–21, 2015Warszawa Praga
August 22 – September 5, 2015Lublin
September 6–19, 2015Płock
September 19–20, 2015Biały Bór (Gr-kat. Wrocławsko-Gdańska)
September 20 – October 3, 2015Łowicz
October 4–17, 2015Łódź
October 18 – November 3, 2015Warszawa
November 4–14, 2015Olsztyn
November 15–28, 2015Elbląg
November 29 – December 12, 2015Gdańsk
December 13–26, 2015Pelplin
December 27, 2015 – January 9, 2016Toruń
January 10–23, 2016Bydgoszcz
January 24 – February 6, 2016Koszalin
February 7–20, 2016Szczecin
February 21 – March 5, 2016Zielona Góra
March 6–19, 2016Legnica
March 20 – April 2, 2016Świdnica
April 3–16, 2016Wrocław
April 17–30, 2016Gniezno
May 1–14, 2016Tarnów
May 15–19, 2016Gr-kat. Przemysko-Warszawska
May 20 – July 31, 2016Kraków

"Ticket for your Brother"

A new project called "Ticket for your Brother" is aimed at helping young people from former communist countries to take part in the events by buying small souvenirs, icons, and gadgets of WYD.

Monthly mass

In the Holy Cross Church, in Krakow, there is a Holy Mass solemnly celebrated at 6:00 PM, every 16th day of each month, for the intention of good spiritual preparations of WYD Krakow 2016. It is an initiative of the Krakow Archdiocese's WYD coordination headquarters office, whose main aim is to prepare the archdiocesan youth for the future events in 2016.

Papal visit itinerary

The Holy See has released the official schedule for Pope Francis's Apostolic Journey to Poland for World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow.[4]



The Polish diocesan bishops (ordinaries) decided on 26 Aug 2013 during their meeting in Czestochowa to form the Polish Organizing Committee for the Papal Apostolic Journey WYD 2016. Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz was elected as head of the committee and the coordination of the local preparations in Krakow are to be led by his auxiliary bishop Damian Muskus. The organising committee consists also of Archbishop Józef Michalik, President of the Polish Bishops Conference, Archbishop Emeritus Józef Kowalczyk of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Gniezno (the former Primate of Poland), Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Warsaw, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Poznań, Archbishop Wacław Depo of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Czestochowa, Bishop Wojciech Polak, the Secretary of the Polish Bishops Conference and Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Radom, and Henryk Tomasik, the National Coordinator for Pastoral Care for the Youth. In the near future several working committees are expected to be formed and in every Polish diocese the official coordinators for WYD plan to be soon nominated.[5]

Local committee in Krakow

Bishop Damian Muskus, head of the local organizational committee in Krakow, presented on Sept 2 2013 the secretariate of the committee. The works of the secretariate are led by rev. Robert Tyrala and his deputy is rev. Mateusz Hosaja. Two more lay person will join the secretariate in the near future, one of them from the organizational committee of WYD in Rio 2013. The process of creating a complete local organizational committee will take approximately 1 month.[6]


The Archdiocese of Kraków has launched an official website for World Youth Day 2016:

In addition, the event already has a strong social media presence, with pages launched on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, Ask, Weebly, Flickr and YouTube.[7]


Main events during the week were located at Blonia Park and Campus Misericordia (a field located in Brzegi, about 8 miles from the center of Kraków). Events at Blonia Park included the Opening Mass with Cardinal Dziwisz, the welcoming ceremony for Pope Francis, and the Stations of the Cross. The Vigil and Papal Mass were at the Campus Misericordia. [8]

Sites were set up around the city to provide catechesis days leading up to the main pilgrimage. These were organized by bishops' conferences and presented in various languages. The main catechesis center for Americans and many other English-speaking was the Tauron Arena, which had been dubbed the Mercy Centre for the week. Programming and logistical efforts for this location were led by the Knights of Columbus. [9]

Additional locations throughout the city provided regular masses, adoration, confession, musical youth festivals, and opportunities to venerate the relics of saints. [8][10]

Legacy of Pope John Paul II

Karol Wojtyła (Pope John Paul II) was born in Wadowice on 18 May 1920, but he identified Kraków as his homeland: "Here, in this land, I was born. Here, in Kraków, I spent the greater part of my life... Here, I received the grace of my priestly vocation... I was consecrated Bishop in the Cathedral of Wawel."[11]

World Youth Day began with Pope John Paul II's invitation to young people in 1984 to come to Rome for Palm Sunday. More than 300,000 turned out for the celebration. The following year – 1985 – coincided with the United Nations International Year of Youth. Then on December 20, the Pope announced the first official WYD meeting for 1986. The 2016 World Youth Day in Kraków marked thirty years since the first official World Youth Day gathering.[12]

World Youth Day played a special role in John Paul II's papacy, and both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have carried on the World Youth Days instituted by John Paul II – as a symbol of hope for young people.[12]


Some Polish people were dissatisfied because the national and city governments spent public money for the event.[13] Protests were organised by the political party Razem[14][15] and the nationalist association "Zadruga".[16].


  1. "WYD 2013: Pope Francis presides at closing Mass on Copacabana Beach: as it happened -". 28 July 2013. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  2. "World Youth Day - An Initiative of Blessed John Paul II – Xt3 Library". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  3. "Official Website for World Youth Day 2016 Kraków". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  4. "Viaggio Apostolico del Santo Padre in Polonia, XXXI Giornata Mondiale della Gioventù (27-31 luglio 2016) - Francesco". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  7. "Follow WYD2016 on Social Media! – Xt3 Library". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  8. 2016, KO ŚDM. "Program - SDM EN". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  9. "". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  10. 2016, KO ŚDM. "City of Saints - SDM EN". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  11. 2016, KO ŚDM. "John Paul II - SDM EN". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  12. What is World Youth Day? – Rome Reports
  13. "Protest przeciwko Światowym Dniom Młodzieży w Krakowie – miasto zapłaci za organizację wydarzenia więcej niż Kościół?". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  14. Finansowanie ŚDM. Spóźniony protest niedoinformowanych
  15. Lewandowski, Karol (7 May 2016). "Razem: "NIE" dla finansowania Światowych Dni Młodzieży w Parku Szczęśliwickim". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  16. "Kraków: Pikieta „Kraków przeciw ŚDM"". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
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