WYD 101

The purpose of
World Youth Day

WYD is an international gathering of young adults who share the Catholic faith during which they pray, worship and celebrate their love for God. This event takes place annually in dioceses and every two to three years at an international level.

It all started in 1984.  

Pope John Paul II gathered young people on Palm Sunday to celebrate the Passion of Jesus. The attendance was beyond the Vatican’s expectations. The following year, even more attended. Pope John Paul II knew that young people needed to meet together to share their experiences, to renew their commitment to God and to look to the future. With these desires in mind, WYD was created with these three intentions :

Reason #1: Celebrating and Putting Trust in the Young

Young people are not the future of God; they are the now of God

World Youth Day acknowledges that young people are meant to confidently take the lead in the building of the Church. It aims to prepare them to take on this challenge as missionary disciples. It is not only just a celebratory gathering; it gathers young people from all corners of the world to call them forth to be active participants in the life and mission of the Church.

Reason #2: Making a Pilgrimage 

From Abraham to the early Christians, people of faith have travelled to the ends of the earth to get closer to God and to spread the gospel. Following this rich tradition, World Youth Day is an opportunity for young people to leave the comfort of their homes and encounter Christ through the Universal Church. It is a physical and spiritual challenge that prepares young people to better live out the pilgrimage of their lives. 

Reason #3: Encountering the Catholic Community

World Youth Day displays the diversity, dynamism and universality of the Church. Within and beyond its many activities, there is a mutual exchange of culture and experience between young people of all walks of life. Breaking all racial, cultural, social and vocational barriers, the international Catholic community is gathered in a single place to celebrate the living God who unites them all. 

Whether celebrated internationally or in your home/local diocese, World Youth Day is about highlighting the important role of young people in the Church and in the world. Through a unique encounter and experience, young people are united to journey together as young missionary disciples to build, brick by brick, the city of God within the city of man.