World Youth Day 2016

World Youth Day is a global event where young people from all over the world gather to celebrate and learn about their Catholic faith. The main goal of WYD is to let youth know about the message of Jesus Christ, in the context of a joyful meeting of the Pope, young people and leaders of the Church.

World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow is the 13th International World Youth Day. It is the second time World Youth Day has been hosted by Poland. It is a time for young people to share their faith and be rejuvenated to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their homelands, showing the universality and diversity of the Catholic Church. It is also a way to come to understand other cultures and spread peace and understanding throughout the world. During the week leading up to the final mass at World Youth Day, the youth gather in catechesis to learn the teachings of the faith and celebrate in other festivities.
World Youth Day was founded by Pope John Paul II in 1984. The Holy Father saw the event as a way to inspire the youth and encourage them in living the teachings of Christ. In 1984 and 1985 he invited the youth of the world to Rome for a Palm Sunday celebration in St. Peter's Square.
In 1987, the first international WYD took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since this date, international World Youth Days have been held in: Santiago de Compostela, Spain (1989); Czestochowa, Poland (1991); Denver, United States (1993); Manila, Philippines (1995); Paris, France (1997); Rome, Vatican City (2000); Toronto, Canada (2002); Cologne, Germany (2005); Sydney, Australia (2008); Madrid, Spain (2011) and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2013)
World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow will be held from 25-31 July.
Pilgrims from Rockhampton will be joining the Brisbane and Sydney Archdiocesan trips, and were commissioned in Masses in the Diocese on Sunday 10th July.
World Youth Day Live program of Events
Pilgrims Journey to Krakow blog





Media Release | 18 July 2016


Aussie Pilgrims Journey to the City of Mercy

Thousands of Aussie pilgrims are departing from Australia over the coming days to join with millions of youth from around the world as they meet with Pope Francis in Krakow, Poland for the 2016 World Youth Day (WYD).

Of the 3,000 Australian pilgrims participating at WYD, 2350 are travelling with Cosmos, the official Australian Tour Operator designated by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference for WYD 2016.

Cosmos are providing 37 different pilgrimage itineraries across Europe with 63 coaches, each with a dedicated tour guide.

Cosmos National Marketing Manager for Australia Chris Fundell said it was a huge honour to be chosen as the official tour operator for this task. “This is an extraordinary event to be involved in and one of the largest group operations Cosmos has ever arranged,” said Mr Fundell.

“The level of enthusiasm and excitement from among the pilgrims has been fantastic.” Groups represent every diocese across Australia as well as many religious orders and community organisations.

Twenty Australian Bishops will accompany the young pilgrims along with 120 priests and 26 religious sisters. The age of the pilgrims ranges from 16 to 36 years.

Currently many routes lead to Poland as the young people and their leaders, chaplains and bishops take different pilgrimage itineraries to gather in Krakow for the World Youth Day week of festivities from 26 – 31 July.

Pre-WYD pilgrimages include a journey through the Holy Land and visits to holy sites across Italy, France and Spain. Others will visit the many shrines and places of significance throughout Poland such as Auschwitz and the hometown of Saint John Paul II, father of the World Youth Days.

The pilgrimages serve as a preparation for the young pilgrims to embrace the theme of this year’s WYD “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Mt 5:7), culminating in Krakow, hailed as the ‘City of Mercy’ because of the spiritual legacy left by Pope John Paul II and St Faustina’s Divine Mercy devotion that has its origins there.

This year’s World Youth Day is also taking place during the international Jubilee Year of Mercy, a Holy Year proclaimed by Pope Francis that began on 8 December 2015 and will conclude on 20 November 2016, calling all the faithful to a new encounter with the mercy of God.

Many of the groups will also conclude their pilgrimage with a post World Youth Day retreat to debrief on the experience in places of natural beauty such as the mountainous region of Poland where Pope John Paul II was known to hike.

This year’s Australian delegation to Poland is the second largest pilgrimage to an international World Youth Day, following the Madrid WYD in 2011 which off the back of Sydney hosting WYD 2008, saw 3,500 Australians travelling abroad.

Friends, family and parishioners not travelling to Krakow can join in by watching the WYD main events from 26-31 July web cast live at:

The ACBC will share stories, photos and videos about the Australian experiences throughout WYD via the ACBC website, Facebook and Twitter. Follow @ACBCYouthMin and @ACBC1 on Twitter or visit

For further information about World Youth Day, please contact Malcolm Hart, Office for Youth on +614 19 951 417 or

Media Enquiries:
Aoife Connors
Media & Communications Director
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
0450 348 597








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