World Youth Day History

“Dear young people, let yourselves be taken over by the light of Christ, and spread that light wherever you are.”
- St Pope John Paul II

World Youth Day is an event which isn't actually a day, it's a week long event, which is hosted by a city which happens every two or three years and attracts millions of young catholic people from all over the world. The first World Youth Day was held in Rome, and was created by St Pope John Paul II. His vision was to create a place for young people to come and pray and explore their faith. The vision began in 1984 when his holiness John Paul II met thousands of young people for the closing mass for the Holy Year of the Redemption, from this World Youth Day was born.

World Youth Day happens at a diocesan and international level. The international events are the events hosted by a host city and attract people from all around the world. There has been 13 international World Youth Days, each holding a different theme. Some of the World Youth Days hold world records for the amount of people present.

World Youth Day Timeline

1986- Rome, Italy
Always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you.
- 1Pt 3:15

1987- Buenos Aires, Argentina
We ourselves have known and put our faith in God’s love towards ourselves.
- 1Jn 4:16

1989- Santiago de Compostela, Spain
I am the way, the truth, and the life
- Jn 14:6

1991- Czestochowa, Poland
You have received a spirit of sonship.
- Romans 8:15

1993- Denver. USA
I came that they might have life, and have it to the full.
- Jn 10:10

1995- Manila, Philippines
As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.
- Jn 20:21

1997- Paris, France
Teacher, where are you staying? Come and see.
- Jn 1:38-39

2000- Rome, Italy
Jubilee – The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
- Jn 1:14

2002-Toronto, Canada
You are the salt of the earth; You are the light of the world.
- Mt 5:13-14

2005- Cologne, Germany
We have come to worship him.
- Mt 2:2

2008- Sydney, Australia
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses
-Acts 1:8

2011- Madrid, Spain
Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith
-Col 2:7

2013- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Go and Make Disciples of All Nations
-Mt 28:19

2016-Krakow, Poland
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy’
-Mt 5:7

For more information on World Youth Day 2016 you can visit the official web page for WYD 2016.


“’Blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy (Mt 5:7)’ Is the theme for World Youth Day. It reflects the Year of Mercy beginning in December. I do hope that a good group of young people from the Diocese of Northampton will travel with NYMO to World Youth Day in July 2016. See you in Krakow!              

Bishop of Northampton Diocese