World Youth Day 2016 Logo

World Youth Day can be called one of the most amazing world-known events. Imagine hundred of thousands of young people from all around the world gathered in one place – singing, sharing happiness and praying. Imagine concerts of great gospel music, recollections and masses for thousands and above all – amazing atmosphere without any sign of malice. This is what WYD is – the biggest catholic event in the world, and perhaps the biggest event in the world at all, attended by the young people. Every year it catches well deserved attention of the media, and believe us – even if you are not a believing and practicing Catholic – it is worth seeing of experiencing. Not only because of the young people, but also for the reason they travel often thousands of kilometers from different continents. The reason is simple – they meet the pope himself. Because it was him, who started this amazing prayer party.

Things began in 1984, when the pope John Paul II met at Palm Sunday thousands of people in Rome, at what is considered to be Christianity’s heart – St. Paul Square. He was so surprised by the young people’s engagement in the meeting, that he called for the next meeting, to show to the world the young face of Christianity. Pope’s message ran through the world and the effect was amazing – two years later, in 1986, in the same place and on the same day over 300 000 young people waited to meet him and pray. This is how World Youth Day started. Over the years John Paul II travelled around the world, meeting young Christians wherever he could – in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Santiago de Compostela (Spain), Denver (US), Manilla (Philippines) and Paris. Every time he was greeted with even more attention and love. With every year the events changed slowly its form. It was not only a giant prayer, but also the perfect occasion to meet and discuss with the young people, what today Christianity is – and what should be the role of the new generation in spreading the Jesus’ message through the world. And with this year, 20 years after the first World Youth Day, the event comes to Poland. Krakow, one of the most important places for Poles, will host approximately 2 millions young people and the pope Francis.

World Youth Day 2016 Quote

Krakow World Youth Day 2016 already seems to be one of the biggest in years – the royal city of Poland is preparing itself to host approximately 2.5 millions of young pilgrims from all over the world. World Youth Day date was scheduled during the last meeting by the Pope himself. The event will last one whole week, starting on July 25th, finishing 31st. This year’s meeting theme was taken from St. Matthew’s: Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Also, apart from being the biggest meeting since many years, World Youth Day 2016 will have the longest pilgrim’s route – which is the road leading to the main meeting point with Pope Francis. The event’s attendants will have to walk about 12 kilometers – under hot Polish sun – to meet the Roman Catholic Church’s head.

With such a huge event upcoming quite soon, many may have some fears. How to move around the city without getting lost while walking to the Krakow cathedral or stamped by the other pilgrims while morning jogging in the Planty Park? Do not worry! The event is really well prepared and once you get to Krakow, you are not likely to get lost. The volunteers, all speaking in major European languages, will be waiting at every corner, ready to help. Also, World Youth Day 2016 main organizers launched a website (and app, of course) which has any information you might need: on travelling, accommodation issues, event schedule. To help young people with travel logistics to Krakow, they also provide a „Pilgrim Package”. For just a couple hundred of dollars you will get all necessary things arranged for you: accommodation, food, local transport and insurance. The simplest package costs 45 USD, the most expensive – 190 USD. If you want to experience  World Youth Day 2016 even deeper, join the event as a volunteer and help the other pilgrims from around the world. Becoming a volunteer during World Youth Day can also save you a lot of money, as your Pilgrim Package will cost only 100 USD (all week accommodation, travel, insurance and meals). And, as you may expect, priceless meetings with people from all around the world are free!

WYD 2016 – Pray for Mercy

There’s a lot of things happening during World Youth Days this year – every participant can attend catechesis (in different languages, held on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday), to discuss the important spiritual issues and pray. Also, all through the day they everyody can enjoy music and singing at the Youth Festival (from Tuesday till Friday). This amazing art event is held to show how religion, culture, art and above all – spirituality – coexist together. Every person attending the festival can be, as organizers say, both a spectator and an artist. Of course, the Youth Festival is free. So, if you know (or just feel) that you have some sort of artistic talent, want to express the idea of Divine Mercy and believe in the idea of the World Youth Day – register right now to join the Festival!

What schedule should you expect during Krakow World Youth Day? Every day begins with cathehesis which will be run by the bishops from all corners of the world. Midday can be spent at the Festival – and the evenings will be surely the most exciting. At Tuesday 28th of July the world’s youth will meet the Pope Francis, and the very next day they will walk „The Way of The Cross” resembling Jesus’s suffering and pain. Young people will carry the Cross through the city, heading to their final destination at the cracovian fields, where they will take part in the night vigil with the Holy Father. The Vigil is the most unique prayer meeting, which emphasizes the character of the World Youth Days. Imagine hundreds of thousands of young people gathered together and praying with the Pope Francis in front of the Holy Sacrament – the world experiences such a powerful meeting very rarely and it is an event worth to join (even, if you are not a Catholic yourself!) only to feel its energy and unique atmosphere. The final mass will take place on July 31st – it will be celebrated by the Holy Father. During the Eucharist, the Pope Francis will traditionally send the young people to the world, asking them to spread Jesus’ teachings with joy, love and mercy.

WYD 2016 – Pope Francis is expected to arrive to Krakow on Wednesday, July 27th, 2016.

If you are planning to visit Krakow during World Youth Day, remember to visit the city’s main sights, and especially its churches, where many WYD’s events is going to take place. The St. Mary’s Basilica, known among cracovians as the Mariacki Church, is one of the main temples of the city. You should visit this temple not only in order to pray, but also to admire its art: huge stained-glass windows and an altar of exceptional beauty, which was created by Wit Stwosz, one of the most famous Polish medieval artists. The small St. Wojciech Church may be not as big (in fact, it is one of the smallest in Krakow), but it certainly is one of the most important here. In this medieval temple, which was erected in 11th century, you can find the remnants of St. Wojciech, a Czech bishop who was sent to what is today Northern Poland and killed by the local inhabitants, becoming a first Polish patron. If you want to see a church that is said to be one of the most beautiful in Krakow, go to Sts. Peter and Paul Church – a smaller copy of the world-famous Il Gesu Church in Rome, founded by the Jesuits. It is a true masterpiece of Baroque style, and the church’s interior is a place of eternal rest of Piotr Skarga – one of most prominent priests of Jesuit order in Central Europe.

WYD 2016 Krakow must see – St. Mary’s Basilica

Religious sights in Krakow include way more than traditional temples and churches. Every pilgrim, heading to WYD should visit two cracovian shrines: the first being The Shrine of Divine Mercy, the other – the „Not Be Afraid” Centre and Shrine of St. John Paul II. The Shrine of Divine Mercy was founded as a memorial to St. Faustyna Kowalska, world-known mystic and holds, among many, holy pictures of Jesus Merciful. The latter shrine, dedicated to the Polish Pope legacy, is more like a place to study and meet with His teachings. Today you will find here actively working Volunteer Centre, and in the future – observatory tower and a hotel.

WYD 2016 Krakow must see – Divine Mercy Shrine