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Poland hosts the World Youth Day

Wellington, 27 July 2016

Krakow, Poland hosts the World Youth Day – Press Release

From 26 to 31 July pilgrims from around the world meet in Krakow, Poland to celebrate together a nearly week-long festival of faith, which bears the name World Youth Day. It will end with Holy Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.


More than 100 pilgrims from New Zealand are joining the celebration of the World Youth Day in Krakow. Over a half of them from Auckland, over 20 young people from Christchurch. There are also groups and individuals from Hamilton, Palmerston North and Wellington region. Big part of this contingent is made up of young people of Polish origin. The Pacific countries will be also represented in Krakow, with 12 pilgrims from Tonga, 26 from Kiribati and others from Fiji and Cook Islands.


The World Youth Day under the banner “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” began with the Days in the Dioceses all over Poland. From 20 July, pilgrims have been guests at Polish families, learning the history, tradition and culture of Poland. On 26 July they travelled to Krakow where they will participate in the meeting with the Holy Father.


Pope Francis will arrive in Krakow on 27 July. On this day a welcoming ceremony attended by the President of Poland Andrzej Duda will be held in the Wawel Cathedral. A day later, the Pope will celebrate Holy Mass in the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa on the occasion of the 1050 th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland. On 29 July he will go to Oświęcim, where he will pray at the former Nazi German concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. On Saturday, July 30, Liturgy of Reconciliation with the participation of youth will take place in the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Łagiewniki. In the evening, the Holy Father will go to Brzegi for Campus Misericordiae, where vigil with young people will start at 7.30 pm On Sunday, Pope Francis will celebrate Final Mass at the end of the meeting of the young.

Pope Francis admitted that the World Youth Day is a joyful occasion “to meet the beloved Polish nation”. The meeting with young people from around the world will take place “under the sign of mercy in this Jubilee Year and in grateful and devoted memory of St. John Paul II, who was the architect of the World Youth Day and the guide of the Polish nation on its recent historic journey to freedom”, the Holy Father said.


Historic overview

The World Youth Day are held regularly every year on Palm Sunday as a diocesan meeting, and every two or three years at a location chosen as an international meeting. The first international edition of the WYD was organised in the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires. In 2008 also Sydney, Australia hosted the WYD.

Poland is hosting the WYD for the second time – previously in 1991. In his greeting to the youth gathered at Jasna Góra Sanctuary in Częstochowa on 14 th August 1991 Pope St. John Paul II said: “All that which over decades was left divided by force on this continent, should now be drawn closer in the hope that Europe seeks unity for its future and for the good of the human family and a return to Christian roots. These roots are found in the East and West. In fact, it is a matter of looking toward the future, which belongs to you, the youth. It is necessary that you take on the grand roads of history, not just here, in Europe, but in all continents.”


Organisation and information

The World Youth Day, the arri val of thousands of pilgrims and the Holy Father to Poland is not only a very important spiritual event, but also a great challenge for the host. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been involved in the organisation of the WYD from the very beginning. Thanks to temporary visa points participants of the WYD could apply for a visa in countries in which Poland does not have its own consular offices. The MFA together with partners prepared two publications – a guide for pilgrims “1050 years. A guide to the history of Poland 966-2016” and a handbook “Ambassador of Polishness” for those hosting pilgrims in their homes.

The website of the MFA includes special tabs dedicated to the WYD, e.g. information relating to the participation in the event, necessary consular advices, as well as the latest publications of the Ministry related to the WYD.


Official website of the World Youth Day Krakow 2016:



World Youth Day 2016 - New Zealand programme of events

For those staying in New Zealand there are opportunities to commemorate this spiritual and joyful meeting during local celebrations held in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.


Mass | Sunday 24 July, 11 am | St Patrick's Cathedral

Auckland Chamber Orchestra Concert | Sunday 24 July | 5 pm | Raye Freedman Arts Centre

World Youth Day Auckland | Spirit in the City | 30-31 July | Victory Convention Centre



On 29-31 July 250 students of catholic schools in South Island, including Marian College and

Catholic Cathedral College in Christchurch will hold special celebrations of the WYD. On 29 July an evening dedicated to Poland will be held with the Polish Ambassador's speech, presentations and films about this year’s WYD host country.


Mass | Sunday 31 July, 7 pm | Sacred Heart Cathedral Mass will be concelebrated by Archbishop of Wellington Cardinal John Dew.


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