In just two weeks World Youth Day 2016 will be starting, where hundreds of thousands of young people around the world will gather to share a few days of reflection and joy.
The event will take place in Krakow (Poland) from July 25 to 31. The theme of the XXXI World Youth Day Krakow 2016 is: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’ (Mt 5:7). Our Holy Father Francis has chosen the fifth of the eight Beatitudes, given by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, to show the importance of the Beatitudes which are at the heart of Jesus’ teaching. In his first Sermon, Jesus presents us with eight examples of qualities that bring us closer to the Kingdom of God.
Of course, many young Vincentians around the world will go to share with the rest of the Church this moment so special. Let us join our hearts and pray for the success of this meeting.
In 1984 at the close of the Holy Year of Redemption, over 300,000 young people from around the world responded to the invitation of His Holiness John Paul II for an International Jubilee of youth on Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s square. Looking out to the crowds who answered his invitation he said, “What a fantastic spectacle is presented on this stage by your gathering here today! Who claimed that today’s youth has lost their sense of values? Is it really true that they cannot be counted on?” It was at this gathering that the Holy Father entrusted to the youth what is now known as the World Youth Day Cross, to be carried throughout the world as a symbol of the love of Christ for humanity.
The following Palm Sunday, coinciding with the United Nation’s International Year of the Youth, Our Holy Father took the opportunity to welcome the youth of the world to Rome again. Later, announcing the institution of World Youth Day on December 20, 1985, and the first official WYD was held in 1986.
The following year brought about a new tradition when the second event and first international WYD took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Every Palm Sunday has since been designated as a World Youth Day, alternately celebrated at the diocesan and international levels. There have been 12 International World Youth Day celebrations, where the youth continue to answer the invitation of the Holy Father in staggering numbers and carry home the message received there to be Christ’s light to the world. While these events are organized by the clergy and laity of the Catholic Church, youth of all faiths are invited to attend and encounter Christ, making this gathering truly universal.
WYD 2016 Hymn (English version):