In 1984, during the Holy Year of Redemption, Pope Saint John Paul II invited young people from around the world to join him in St. Peter’s Square on Palm Sunday. This event inspired what is now known as World Youth Day. Since 1986, there have been fifteen World Youth Days where young people gathered in countries around the world to meet with others to share faith, encounter Christ and reflect on the call to live as witnesses to a life of Christian virtue. Canada hosted WYD in 2002 in Toronto.
As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the excitement for World Youth Day in Lisbon, 1-6 August 2023, is building. Many Canadian young people will be accompanied by youth ministers, bishops, priests and religious as they make their way to Portugal. The recommended minimum age for participation at WYD is 18 years old