World Youth Day 2016
folded ankh logo of the World Youth Day 2016
DateJuly 26, 2016 (2016-07-26) – July 31, 2016 (2016-07-31)
LocationKraków, Poland
Coordinates50°01′51″N 20°05′36″E / 50.030934°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 (from the Divine Mercy devotion), Mary Faustina Kowalska and John Paul II

World Youth Day 2016 (WYD 2016; Polish: Światowe Dni Młodzieży 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.

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 Częstochowa.[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 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.


Polish pilgrims celebrate the announcement (2013) that the World Youth Day 2016 will take place in Kraków, Poland.
Badges with symbols of World Youth Day 1991 and 2016


More than 70 priests took part in a meeting on 10 September 2013 dedicated to the spiritual aspects of the preparations to WYD Kraków 2016. They represented all Polish dioceses and the local organizing committee in Kraków. 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 Kraków. The Cross will be present not only in churches and chapels but in schools, prisons for youth, and universities as well.


Salus Populi Romani

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.

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

"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 Kraków, 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 Kraków 2016. It is an initiative of the Kraków 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 Kraków.[4]


Archbishop of Kraków Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, head of the organisational committee and the coordination of the local preparations in Kraków, Poland


The Polish diocesan bishops (ordinaries) decided on 26 August 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 Kraków 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 Kraków

Bishop Damian Muskus, head of the local organizational committee in Kraków, presented on 2 September 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 had a social media presence, with pages launched on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, Ask, Weebly, Flickr and YouTube.[7]


The Divine Mercy Shrine

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

Pope John Paul II in Poland for World Youth Day 1991

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". Archived from the original on 22 March 2016. 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.
  5. ^ [user-generated source]
  6. ^ "EKAI". 17 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Follow WYD2016 on Social Media! – Xt3 Library". Archived from the original on 26 April 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Program". Archived from the original on 22 February 2018.
  9. ^ "". Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  10. ^ "City of Saints". Archived from the original on 22 February 2018.
  11. ^ "John Paul II". Archived from the original on 22 February 2018.
  12. ^ a b 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"". Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2018.