What is World Youth Day?
World Youth Day (or in short ‘WYD’) is an international event, organised by the Church, for young Catholics from all over the world. It was initiated by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1985. It is celebrated at diocesan level annually, and at an international level every two or three years each time in a different country.
When celebrated at an international level, it consists of a week-long festival which celebrates the Christian faith and culminates in an open-air mass presided by the Pope. It typically attracts hundreds of thousands of young people from almost every country on the planet. It is a wonderful opportunity for all involved to meet others who share similar values and beliefs, to deepen one’s relationship with God, and to enjoy some very memorable experiences.
John Paul II Named Patron of 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid
Bishop Cesar Franco of Madrid made the announcement shortly after Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, disclosed that John Paul II was going to be beatified on May 1.
As we all know well, John Paul II always had a special affinity and love for young people. In 1985, when the first World Youth Day took place, the late-Pope said: “The entire Church ought to be ever more committed at the worldwide level to support young people in their anxieties and desires, in their openness and their hopes, in order to meet their expectations and communicate to them the certainty who is Christ.”
Blessed John Paul II is Patron of this event together with nine Patron Saints: St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Isidore the Worker, St. Maria of the Head, St. Rafael Arnaiz, St. John of Avila, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Rose of Lima.